Another Fun Day with the Hanoi Kids

Trip Start Feb 17, 2013
Trip End Mar 21, 2013

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Where I stayed
Skylark Hotel

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, March 10, 2013

We knew what we were getting into today with the Hanoi Kids and, once again, they didn't disappoint.  Two of the cutest, nicest young ladies met us at the hotel at 9:00.  As was expected, they were there ahead of time, just like our last visit nearly three weeks ago.  Their names are Hien and Nhung.  They are students at different universities but majoring in the same area, International Economics. With English language skills they should go far.  We explained to them what we had done last time we went out with the "Kids" and then they worked with us to plan the day.  On the last visit, we stayed in the Old Quarter and headed off to the east toward the lake and "Hanoi Hilton", so this time we headed off toward the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex.  We are staying at the Skylark Hotel which is just outside the Old Quarter on the north side.  I don't think we ever shut up the whole morning.  They had to hear all about the USA.  Maybe because of their school background, they were fascinated with anything to do with politics.  Of course, we had to review the latest movies, TV, singers , etc.  Even though we didn't go to  Hoa Lo Prison (the "Hilton"), they had to ask us about it and how we felt about the prisoner treatment.  I'm getting the feeling after two visits, that they don't really believe all of the propaganda either.  They are searching for the answers, also.  We had a nice discussion about that in front of Uncle Ho's Mausoleum.  

By 11:30, we had seen the Presidential Palace, walked by Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Ba Dinh Square, seen both of his houses and car collection (everyone is equal, some are more equal than others) and the One Pillar Pagoda (which has a nice dirty story about its history which the girls couldn't wait to share with me so I could tell Dayna later). It is Sunday, so the lines to see Uncle Ho's plastic body were Disney-like so we passed on that rare opportunity.  Opting instead to watch the crowds do their digital dances to get the best photo opportunity.  We did see the changing of the guard, which pales by comparison with the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington.  I will have to drop that into the suggestion box when we leave.  Hate to see them fall behind on the military theatrics front.

After a good dirty story at the One Pillar Pagoda, we were off to lunch. This is the highlight of the Hanoi Kids' day because they all take us to super good restaurants that are way outside of their price range.  Today, it was Highway 4. They get to order for the table, of course, and then proceed to eat everything within chop stick range.  Those Hanoi Kids can pack it away!  Unbelievable meal at the shocking price of about $38 for the four of us.  How will I ever get us back on budget?  Highway 4 is in the Old Quarter and was only 1.4K away from the hotel by Google Maps.  These kids are dialed in!  So, we walked back to the hotel with a stop at a local pharmacy where Dayna was able to buy codeine laced cough meds over the counter.  Gotta love this place!

It is really a nice day here today. Probably about 75 degrees but the humidity is high enough that you could wash your clothes out of a speeding car's window.  "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Righto!!  And, I don't glisten like a girl.

When we got back to the hotel we gave each of the girls a Navajo Dream Catcher as a gift.  Something they have never seen before.  And a couple of American magazines that we had brought along on the plane and were ready to pass on.  What an enjoyable day it was.  Dayna is already Facebook friends with both of them and tonight we will e-mail them some pictures. They work on their English, we work on converting them to Capitalism and the Republican Party. Fun!

Back at the hotel, burn the shirt, wash up, rest and get ready for evening.  No big plans but one can not be too ready!  After such a huge lunch, food right now seems an awful effort.  Maybe we'll walk up to Truck Bach Lake and mingle with the masses.  Safety doesn't seem a real issue on the streets here (except crossing them!) if you are just not stupid about it.

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