Enjoying city life in Hanoi
Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
124Trip End Feb 01, 2012
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Where I stayed
We made it here after a LONG bus journey which seemed to go on for ever. We spent 12 hours of being in a seat that was too small (ok I've put on weight but my bum isn't THAT big). The locals didn't seem to be too happy to share their seats with us, the guy next to me even leant in front of me pretending to sleep. The people in the restaurant we stopped at first ignored us and then tried to rip us off so we didn't even eat. Relieved to have made it to Hanoi, we got into a taxi where the driver refused to put on the metre even though he'd agreed to do it before we put our bags in. We changed taxis and still got ripped off by a guy with a metre that went up very quickly and who spent forever searching for our hotel. Our hotel room stank of rotten eggs and it was only after threatening to leave they agreed to change our rooms. The conversation went something like this:
Me: I'm sorry, but our room really stinks we cannot stay in it
Hotel: Noooo, room does not stink
Me: I'm afraid it does. Very much so
Hotel: Can you come back later, we are eating (it was 10pm)
Me: Emm, NO!
Hotel: Sorry we are full
Me: Ok we must leave then
Hotel: Ok, Ok. (Gave us key for opposite room which took all of 1 minute)
While our entry into Vietnam had started to live up to the bad reputation this country has with some travellers things got much better once we'd had a good night's sleep.
In between our eating sprees and coffee drinking we actually managed to fit in some culture and
It felt good to be back in a city. Don't get me wrong I have enjoyed being in all these lovely remote places but don't forget I was brought up in the 2nd biggest city in England & I have lived in London 11 years. So I guess I am saying that I am still a city boy at heart. In fact when Karen asked if I would like to stay somewhere remote when we continued onto Halong Bay, my retort was "If they have a floating McDonalds in Halong Bay it still won't be too touristy for me!" Ha ha. I guess I needed to be back in a city!
All this stuff we had heard about Hanoi did not apply for us. We really enjoyed it. Yes, there are lots of people trying to sell you stuff but is it really that different than back home? Instead of constant comercials or advertisments you get real people on the street. Everybody has to make a living.
I know Karen has already mentioned the motorbikes here but I don't think she has explained enough. When we say there are lots of bikes here what we really mean is imagine a motorbike grand prix and then add about 1 million bikes. Now imagine crossing the road! I have never seen anything like it. It actually seems physically impossible to have that many bikes buzzing around. Apparently Saigon (Ho Chi Mihn City) has even more. That I have got to see!
You will all be happy to hear that the weather changed slightly when we were here. We had to wear our cardigans which is just out of order. We wanted a year long summer! Oh well, we will be back in the heat in no time.
Our next stop on this amazing journey is very different. We are heading to one of natures true wonders of the world: Halong Bay. We can not wait!
We will see you on our Junk (traditional Vietnamise Boat) boat when we get there!
All our love as always,
Paul & Karen xxx