Fishy beer.

Trip Start Oct 27, 2008
Trip End Oct 27, 2009

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, December 22, 2008

Giles:  Now we're on our final stop in Vietnam.  This month has gone so so quickly, and after our Christmas trip to Halong Bay we'll be in Luang Prabang, Laos, to see in the New Year.  Staying in the Old Quarter in Hanoi, it's very much like Beijing with the maze of narrow roads, complete with a thousand scooters per road which makes it fun crossing.  The mantra "they don't want to hit me" works well, just walking blindly, but slowly, across a road full of scooters and taxis works as they make the effort to dodge us.  Just a short walk away there's a big lake that's nice to chill out infront of, still geting hassled by every merchant tryign to sell us bananas, lychees, conical hats, photocopied books, etc etc, but that's just the culture.  One of them yesterday dressed Sam in her massive conical hat and gave her her stick-with-buckets-each-end (obviously not the technical name for it) but we didn't have the camera with us!  It's interesting so far, with each random walk taking us to roads and places we've never seen, like this morning we stumbled upon a huge open market selling everything from fish to meat to veg, and it was all very fresh - tiger prawns swimming about, eels shuffling about, tortoises poking their heads in and out.  Then we saw a load of rabbits all caged up, quite disturbing, and one of them, hopefully dead by this point, had half slid through the cage and was staring at the ground.  Poor things.  But I'm sure the rabbit noodles were fresh.  Speaking of noodles, Sam's found she has an addiction to the local delicacy of pho - just simple a bowl of rice noodles with the odd few herbs thrown in.  Very cheap, very tasty, and she loves it!  My addiction has been the doner kebabs, had five last night and a few more to come - again cheap and tasty!

Went on a mission today, needed toothpaste desperately so I went for a stroll before Same woke up, saying I'd only be ten minutes.  After five minutes I drew out cash and found the toiletry road (the roads are set out where each road sells pretty much one thing, 8 stores selling sunglasses down one, 11 stores selling the same jewellery down another, 7 stores selling the same bags next to it, etc etc, but I digress..), and so thought another five minutes and I'd be back.  Brilliant I thought, so I tried to sneak in a quick kebab for breakfast and took a detour back to the hotel.  Couldn't find the kebab stall.  Went round a few streets, in a few circles, still couldn't find it.  Didn't recognise anywhere around me... so thought I would head back to the hotel.  After forty minutes I realised I had lost my bearings and was absolutely completely lost amongst these little roads all looking so similar!  I made the five minute journey last over an hour, but I eventually found the hotel again and all Sam did was laugh.  I didn't mention I got lost trying to get a kebab until now...

This hotel has been brilliant so far too.  Yesterday we had no running water at all, not the best scenario especially as Sam encouraged me to take a few laxatives (one movement a week isn't good) so the room smelled a bit funky and washing hands with bottled water got quite expensive.  And today we woke up to no power!  We did get a discount, and they've promised it will all be fine from now on, but it's not been the best stay so far.

Sam:  Oh how i laughed when toad boy got lost. That will teach him. Spent a day and night in Hue before Hanoi which was ok. As we had limited time we decided to do a one day tour to see the main sights which was crap. Tomb after tomb after tomb where you didn't actually get to see any bodies. We also managed to book a tour full of families and their children. On the coach we sat in front of the most annoying family i have ever encountered, Their children were playing a wooden flute for hours. The more we tried to escape from them the more they followed us around. Overnight bus to Hanoi which was ok, slept most of the way. On the bus you can pay extra for a bed so we did, but there in rows of 5 with no space between them, i got there first to get the window and giles was next to me. Next to Giles was the tinniest oldest vietnamise man who (for some reason) cuddled right up to Giles. He was literally spooning him. Giles couldn't turn or move. I nearly died from laughing so much. The bus dumped us and ordered us off nowhere near the centre of Hanoi. After Giles navigation skills??!!! got us nowhere after 30 minutes i insisted on jumping in a cab. Got badly ripped off but i really didn't care at that point.

Like Giles said Hanoi is like Beijing. So busy and noisy, everywhere. There is no escape. I think i've got used to it but it can become very annoying and stressful. I like it here, just for its diversity. There is so much to look at and im always being shocked. Like when we saw tables of dead dogs in the process of being skinned or a man on the street carving a pineapple into the most obscure shape in 5 minutes. We've got ourselves a little routine at night... A few glasses of the cheapest beer in the world. Official. 11p. It smells and tastes like fish but after a couple you no longer taste it.  Then a kebab or pho for a quid, cheap night.

Weather is a bit disapointing. Overcast and humid, even had rain. It should get better though.

Have a wonderful christmas!

Lots n lots n lots n lots of love, Gam and Siles xxx
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mumdadjosh on

Giles, you look so dapper in your suit!!
Looks like you've lost loads of weight as well xxx

mumdadjosh on

How cool are those shoes???
Not actually sure that anyone could walk in them....

Love you,
Mum xxx

redwine286 on

Merry Christmas........
Chúc Giáng Sinh Vui Vẻ và Chúc Nãm Mới Tốt Lành.

That's vietnamese for 'Merry Christmas and a happy New Year'! Hope you have a wonderful time on your luxury cruise! xx

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