Motorcycle madness

Trip Start Nov 08, 2007
Trip End Nov 24, 2007

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This morning we were up early b/c we had to get back to Khaosan Rd and pick up our passports with visa for Vietnam and be to the airport by 11am for out flight. And trust me, it could have taken that long with BKK morning traffic. Thankfully, we made it in plenty of time, so we sat there and read more about Hanoi. We could already tell from reading that it was going to be way different from BKK. But man, what a change!
We flew Vietnam Air and they were fantastic. I highly recommend them if you ever have the chance. Anyway, it was a short flight and we got a cab to the Old City. Found a hotel after walking around for a bit and checked in. Then we headed out to the streets of Hanoi for some exploration. And when I say streets, I mean it literally. You see, there are 349,278,590,824,759,083,475 cajillion Hondas parked everywhere on the sidewalk so you have to walk in the streets with the ones that are still driving! You just have to keep you limbs tucked in safely and you are fine. Just don't make any sudden moves. And as we have observed, if you want to cross the street full of a busy, frenetic mass of moto drivers, just start walking. In fact, it's best just to look for a small gap and then go, looking only straight ahead and pointing a hand towards them as if saying, "wait a sec, I'm crossing." Since the average height of the Vietnamese man is 5'4",  Allen stepping out first poses a real threat of damage to these prized 2 wheel possessions and they veer accordingly. So far, it's been working pretty well for us. (Moms don't's not as bad as it sounds, we are being as safe as we can while still crossing the road to get to point B J There are no real traffic lights, so you just have to go when you get the chance.)
Anyway, we saw a water puppet show at about 6pm and that was pretty neat. It has been done for centuries here as a form of entertainment (once only for the royals)and has been critically acclaimed the world over. It was pretty neat but Allen was cramped into those seats for the 5'4" man for over an hour, so it was good to get out once it ended. Overall a good cultural experience. Glad we did it. It was chaos at the box office, and supposedly the seats were all sold out for today, tomorrow and Friday, but a young Vietnamese guy saw me asking people if  they had any extra tickets we could buy and then he said he could get me some and he did! So nice; and he wouldn't even accept the tip Allen offered him. Wow.
That's surprising because so many people here seem to be out for a buck. A perfect example was the banana lady when we first got here. She came up and slipped the basket things she was carrying over my shoulder, threw her cone hat on my head and told Allen to take my picture. Then she did the same thing to Allen and then gave us a banana in a bag and told us it would be 40,000 dong and no she would not take 10,000; she needed to feed her baby. Well, that pissed me off, even though 40,000 dong is only about $2.60. I thought, no way. We gave her 10,00 dong and said "No more" and she left us alone after a few tense seconds.
I guess since the US just lifted the embargo back in the early 90's and the tourism industry is just picking up here, people are trying to get their piece of the pie. Don't know, but it is definitely a change from BKK. We did not really encounter this at all. But we are having fun.
Dinner was at this place we saw on the Food Network, called Highway 4 and it was mediocre. Allen had some beef and rice dish with 2 beer and a liquor drink and I had a bottled water and alligator with chili and lemongrass and we had some bread with butter and sugar (you had to pay for that) and it was a little less than $16. Good atmosphere. Lots of strange things on the menu, including intestines, bull penis and friend scorpions. Not kidding!
Now we are at the café trying to book out Halong Bay trip and the hotels for Cambodia. Hope you are all well. Stay tuned for more tails from the road!
Love and miss you all!
Jenna and Allen
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cami_w on

Jake and Molly are jealous!
I thought y'all were pretty good at saving $$$ in the US, but you seem to be pros at it in Asia! The dogs send their love!


jsbridgers on

Re: Jake and Molly are jealous!
Thanks for your help with them Cami. On another note-now that we are in vietnam I can say that Jake and Molly are happy to not be on the menu here in Hanoi. Thit Chow is 'Dog Soup' here. Both mans best friend for some and man's favorite snack for others!

cami_w on

Holding It Down
Sounds like you are having a large time - what an ADVENTURE you two are creating! It doesn't appear that you are out of your comfort zone at all. Spare your concerns and tears for us at SSA. I must say, the quad is way too quiet! Continue to have a blast!!!

cami_w on

I forgot to put my name - you know my computer skills are not up to what yours are. Bobbie (under Cami)

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