A Little Hanoi-ed
Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
132Trip End Jan 04, 2012
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Stepping out onto the streets with our newly acquired umbrellas (bought as we left Nanning), the hotel lady warned us it might rain. She was right.
Around Hoan Kiem lake and into a little temple on the lake. I work out I've been short changed a cool 80 000 Dong by the ticket seller at the entrance. I feel hurt and betrayed by my new beloved Vietnam. How could they? Also, how could I be so stupid not counting the change there and then (one answer to this is that counting change from 5 000 000 Dong involves a lot of notes and quite a bit of time and I was just feeling a little lazy). I was willing to let it slide, but Kate wanted me to fight for the 2.27 GBP that we had lost out on. Betrayed, angry and psyched up I marched with my wad of notes in one hand and my tickets in the other. I would use my new found condescending tone speak of Mike the American to get what I needed.
"I bought Two Ticket - 20 000 Dong (waving the tickets and money)", "You Give Me 400 000 Dong", "You Short 80 000 Dong". I was ready for her response. I wouldn't take no for an answer
She quickly counted out the money and put it in my hand.
"Oh Thank you very much, wonderful". I quickly reverted to type.
I was surprised and a little delighted. I had fought the Vietnamese guerrillas down on their own turf and won. Not many can say that. She may have been trying it on, or it may have been that there are so many notes to deal with - either way I'd learnt to count my change.
We had some lunch in a pleasant little bar with a couple of cheap beers and then went in search of Ho Chi Minh or his corpse to be exact. His embalmed body is kept in a heavily guarded mausoleum complex which is one of the main tourist draws to Hanoi. Sadly Ho was on his 2 month vacation to his comrades in Moscow to get re-embalmed so we were stuck walking around a museum dedicated to him which was a mixture of artifacts from his rebellious revolutionary life, stock photos, and strange hard to comprehend artistic sculptures depicting periods in Vietnam's colourful history. Politics meets Picasso. I didn't like it, it gave me a headache - but that could have been de-hydration.
A pot noodle dinner (leftovers from China) and 'Knight and Day' on TV, the hotel left a couple of mini cakes in our room with a label 'Wishing you a happy dream'. How very sweet.