"...It's O600 hours. What does the O stand for...?

Trip Start May 31, 2012
Trip End Aug 08, 2013

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Where I stayed
Hanoi Eclipse Hotel
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Saturday, July 14, 2012

... Oh, my God it's hot!

Stole a line from Robin Williams there in 'Good Morning Vietnam.' The obvious one to steal would have been, well, too obvious, so I improvised. But as I was saying, it is extremely hot here in Vietnam, who would have guessed it. Here is the latest weather information for you to peruse at your leisure;


    See? Wasn't kidding, was I? Anyway, we've been having a fantastic time despite the heat. We were commenting earlier about how we're not used to sweating profusely (going from air conditioned work to fan-based homes, to cars with the windows rolled down, etc), but letting yourself just sit and sweat is a very effective cooling device. We've discovered this. And while drinking beer it's even better.

    We got in late on Saturday night and got a pickup from our hotel, which was great because after a 20+ hour flight/travel, we were in no mood or condition to fight the throngs of hungry cabbies nor negotiate a price for our safe delivery to our hotel. Plus we got to see a guy with one of those signs with your name on it. I felt very important, and I'm sure Kara felt impressed with me. It was a 45 minute drive to the hotel from the airport and the drivers here are crazy! There are either no lines on the road, or if there are, the drivers pay no attention to them. There are motorbikes everywhere and we only saw one traffic light on the 45 minute drive (to which none of the drivers paid attention to). Red means stop right? Well, here it doesn't, it means "Continue on your way, and don't mind the other cars coming at you, they'll figure it out. And keep honking!"

    Our hotel is very nice, and it has air conditioning and a balcony. It's right in old quarter of town so we're right in the shit. By which I mean, right in the exciting part of town. We went down to Hoan Kiem Lake first thing in the morning on Sunday and saw a bike race, some people doing tai chi and lots and lots of people. It's a beautiful and bustling area where you just have to start crossing the street and have complete faith that you will make it. If you hesitate, you're done; if you falter, you will pay the mortal price. Ok, I'm exaggerating, but it's pretty scary with all those motorbikes zooming around!

   We saw the Ngoc Son Temple which is on a tiny island in the lake and then continued to make our way around the lake. We stopped at a small storefront with some people eating on small plastic chairs on the sidewalk for lunch and the lady was extremely nice and loaded us up with food. We had some nice bean sprouts, deep fried tofu, sausages and peanuts on rice and it cost us 2.50 USD altogether. We stopped for a beer at a cafe close to our hotel which was air conditioned so that was nice, and then continued onto sleep for the rest of the afternoon back in our room. When the temperature tops 40 degrees, there's not much else to do. We ended up at a restaurant called Little Hanoi (of which we've seen 2 others with the same name since then!) and had amazing eggplant and pork on rice, and we both used chopsticks.

      After dinner, we treated ourselves to the world famous Water Puppet Theatre. The musical accompaniment was incredible, starting the show off with some instrumental numbers before the puppets made their appearance. We had toured a music shop earlier in the day and came across a one stringed instrument which intrigued us both, and the main musician in this band was playing it with such panache that it sold us both on it immediately. So for Christmas next year, we would both appreciate a one stringed Vietnamese instrument please. The puppet show was very entertaining and we both enjoyed it immensely. What we did not enjoy immensely was the annoying chick next to Kara who brought in a big slurpee and french fries in a crinkly bag and proceeded to eat continuously throughout the performance. Where did she even find a 7-11 in Hanoi!?

    Kara here- Today we started the day off right with 2 vietnamese coffees, which are strong and mixed with a heady dose of sweetened condensed milk, and a bowl of pho.  We were all hopped up on sugar, caffeine and salt.  So we went to the temple of literature, a sombre dedication to Confucius, and learning.  After much walking around we had lunch at a Parisienne cafe- there are great breads and pastries here thanks to French colonialism.

    Our wanderings lead us through some back alleys, which looked unwelcoming, but were surprisingly cool and lead to little oases.  Admittedly, Cafe Pho Co was not the most conventional place to enjoy a beverage, but the re-purposed traditional house was... interesting?

   Once things cool off, we will head out for Cha ca, a Hanoi dish of barbeque fish.  We will likely squeeze in some shopping at the night market so that we arrive for our Halong Bay cruise tomorrow with the appropriate attire- all Calvin Klein (or Caivin Kleyn) right?
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Rex and Maureen on

Vietnam. sounds wonderful! We arrived safe and sound in Bangkok this morning and spent the rest of the day taking in the sights, sounds, and smells. We plan on doing some major sight seeing tomorrow and then start heading north to Chiang Mai. Take care and enjoy! Xoxo

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