Trip Start May 31, 2008
Trip End Jun 01, 2009

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, September 21, 2008

We arrived in Hanoi with style.  Night bus style, that is.  The bus we took had very narrow bunk beds, and we were lucky enough to experience the sleeper from the top level.  Ha ha ha.  Good thing the seats had seat belts, and an even better thing that we are small people!  It was a bit precarious balancing on those tiny beds.  The tall boys from Belgium weren't too impressed with the facilities.  :)

We stayed in the Old Quarter in Hanoi which is busy, noisy, and in the morning has some interesting sights (mostly due to the bustling food markets lining the streets).  We went on a self walking tour of the Old Quarter, visited the History Museum and the Revolution Museum.  The History Museum was very professional, and had some gorgeous Cham artifacts.  It also had wicked air conditioning!  The Revolution Museum was a bit of a disappointment after Saigon's War Museum, but still was worth exploring to gain some insight on the Franco-Viet Minh war.  We then got duped by a shoe shiner (disappointing after avoiding them for so long)!

Hanoi is famous for it's water puppet shows, so we went to a night performance.  The show and music were a lot of fun.  The puppets mostly depicted the changing seasons in Vietnam.  The dragons and water birds were very cool.

On our second day we made a mad dash to the mausoleum to see Ho Chi Min (or Uncle Ho).  But he is being "maintained" in Russia right now, so we had to settle for the Ho Chi Min museum.  The museum was an entertaining blend of history and modern art (we think).

The Temple of Literature is considered Vietnam's first university, and the grounds, gardens, and fish ponds were a welcome getaway from the noisy city.  The gardens here are lush and beautiful.  We went to a little cafe that trains disadvantaged youth for the hospitality industry (Cafe Smile).  The food, and especially the desserts were divine.  French pastry in the heart of Vietnam is awesome.

Latha also got a $5.00 pedicure from some Vietnamese ladies who didn't speak any English.  A great way to end the day!
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