Hanoi-ingly Dangerous Drivers!!

Trip Start Nov 30, 2012
Trip End Jan 14, 2013

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What I did
Halong Bay Hanoi
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Night Market Hanoi
Read my review - 3/5 stars

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Goooood morning Vietnaaaaaam!

It's wet, it's cold & these guys got their driving licences out of a cereal box! Seriously, it needs to be seen to be believed. It's not annoying, it's just a real eye opener.

Anyway, the day started with a trip to the DMK airport in Bangkok. It cost us 300baht which wasn't too bad. We got pulled up just before getting on the plane but luckily it was an admin error on their part.

Flight went smoothly & so did the V.O.A. We went through passport control & headed for a taxi. First up, it was raining. Only a little bit though so nothing to really grumble about. We were expecting it to be a lot cooler up here anyway.

After 5 minutes in the taxi our little Vietnamese driver friend decided to go 'off road' & head for a dodgy looking tunnel that ran under the motorway. Lisa's immediate reaction was to sh*t her knickers as images of us holding bits of cardboard with a ransom fee ran through her head. It turned out he was taking us to his taxi station so that he could fill up on petrol. After he'd done a bit of shopping & picked the kids up (joke) we made it to our hotel. He got out & helped us with our luggage then asked to be paid. We were waiting for change & he gestured to us that he was getting it. I think he had started the engine before he even sat down because he was out of here with the change faster than a grey hound!

We checked in at about 10:00 & after speaking with the owner, Damien, we headed off through the old town towards the lake. It's very iconic to be in the middle of such a bustling city but there isn't too much to see around it. After going for a drink in the Radio Cafe we headed off in search of food. We found a nice little place next to what looked like a school. I played it safe & had beef fried rice. Lisa risked red wine noodles & ended up with a bowel of red water with chunks of flesh floating about on top (woof!). Needless too say it was hardly touched.

We headed off towards the Hoa Lo prison, aka the Hanoi Hilton, & St Josephs church. Lisa still needed something to eat so we stopped in a little French cafe next to the church where she got herself a good old tuna panini! We took the time to look at some cruises for Halong Bay before making our way to the prison.

The prison was an incredible insight into how things used to be out here. It went on about the French colonists & how the women prisoners were abused by them. Then it went on about the P.O.W's from the Vietnam war, mostly air pilots. There was so much propaganda in there. We watched a video & the Vietnamese claimed to have shot down 'thousands' of U.S planes. Wiki says 2,251 but thats including Laos & Cambodia.

Anyway, after that we headed back to our hotel to get showered before going out for some food. We looked around for a bit & decided to eat at a restaurant on the 5th floor of a huge building overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake. Looked ideal. We ordered chicken fried rice...we got deep fried chicken...on it's own...nothing else. We explained to them what we wanted so they took the chicken away for 5 minutes then brought it back but this time with a bowel of rice that had to be cut with a knife to be eaten. We were a bit annoyed but saw the funny side to it. Especially when they gave us the bill. Not wanting to be on tomorrow nights menu we paid & left.

On our way back there was a market on the main road back to the hotel so we had a little look through that before getting an early night. We've got a 3 hour coach journey in the morning for our trip to Halong Bay. Looking forward to it.
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