Hanoi Kids Tour

Trip Start Sep 16, 2012
Trip End Oct 08, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hanoi Elegance Diamond

Flag of Vietnam  , Ha Nội,
Saturday, September 22, 2012

Enjoyed a nice breakfast at Hanoi Elegance & we bumped into some Victorian University Students who were here to look at Vietnam hospitals Paeditric wards after hearing what hey were doing Di gave them some presents that we had bought from home to give to some Thai friends. We figured they will understand.

Whilst i was researching our Vietnam trip, i came across Hanoi Kids which is a group of University Students who will take tourists around Hanoi so as they can improve their English & interact with foreigners. You can contact them thru their web site.
They will email you with some suggested itinerarys, either 1/2 day or full day, we chose the full day the usual intinerary of most popular places. The service is free, you just pay for any Taxi's, entrance fees, meals & drinks.

We had the lovely 'Kid' as our Tour guide.

We started at the Ho Chi Minh complex, Ho Chi Minh devoted his whole life to the Vietnam people & liberation of the country. He never married so he was fondly known as Uncle Ho. Inside the complex is the Ho Chi Minh Masoleum, which was closed for renovation, but the Vietnamese people usually line up for hours to file pass Uncle Ho's mummified body, we just walked thru Ba Dinh square to see the Masoleum. we then wandered further in the complex to see the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minhs residence & One pillar Pagoda. All these places were inside the complex & wander along beautiful gardens to see the sights. It was a very hot day so the park has lots of shade which was a relief.

We then caught a Taxi to the Temple of Literature, the temple of literature is the site of Vietnam's first university & is based on Confucious birthplace. The temple is made up of 5 courtyards lined up in order, entrance to the first, via the impressive twin tiered Van Mieu gate leads to three pathways that run thru the length of the complex. The first 2 courtyards are peaceful havens of ancient trees & lawns, entrance to the 3rd courtyard is thru the dominating costelattion of literature , The 4th courtyard is bordered on either side by great pavillions which once contained alters of 72 of confucios greatest students. The 5th courtyard contains vietnams first university founded in 1076 but this was destroyed by french bombings in 1947. The temple of literature is now considered one of Hanoi's finest historical & cultural sites. University students now return to the site after they graduate for picture's in national dress.

We then walked up the road a bit to Koto's which stands for 'Know one teach one' it is a restaraunt/organization for disadvantaged youth in Vietnam the organization takes kids in & teaches them hospitatility trade. They then go onto to work in restaraunts, hotels all over the world. It is an Australian non-profit organization with head office based in Melbourne. We were to early for lunch so we had a couple of fruit smoothies, Di & Kid had Mango Smoothies & i had Koto's special which had banana Mango & mint., they were great. If you are in hanoi check it out. its a great cause.

Another Taxi ride took us to Hoa lo prison or as we might know it as its nickname Hanoi Hilton. The prison was built by the french in the late 18th century in the french indo-china era. The french interned political prisoners here in sub-human conditions & is one of the reasons there is bit of dislike towards French.

In the 60's American POW's were sent here by the Nth Vietnam Army where they were tortured until they signed false confessions that critiscised US involvement in Vietnam & praised NVA of how well they were treated. There is a lot of propaganda inside the prison complex now & the Vietnamese are taught of how well the POW's were treated. I'm not getting into that argument as Vietnam are 2 from 2 in wars. Part of the complex was demolished in the 90's for highrise buildings.

We then took another Taxi ride back to the Old Qtr for lunch, Kid picked a restaraunt Highway 4 for our lunch. Highway 4 is a Vietnamese restaraunt it has few scattered over Vietnam, it is very traditional & you sit on the floor to dine. we were originally seated upstairs with a couple of groups of locals but it was so loud with their talking/shouting we moved back down stairs. I've never heard people being so loud in a restaraunt.

We enjoyed some crumbed prawns, beef stir fry with lemongrass wrapped in banana leaf, & BBQ'd pork ribs, some beers for me & Di & the bill was 470,000 Dong ($25) the food was good.

We then walked around the old qtr for a bit & searched for an Optomerist as i wanted to price some Bi-focal lenses & Transision lenses, i was quoted around $200 but just wasn't sure if something may have been lost in translation so i baulked at the last munute & i'll wait til Phuket.

By this stage we were buggered as it was so hot so i asked Kid to take us to Fanny's which is an Ice Cream parlor that is well known around the tourists trap. Fannys used to be locathoted around Sword Lake but has recently moved to the French Qtr. Di & Myself enjoyed a banana split & Kid had like an ice cream cake. They were all delicious & we will return before we go home. The cost was $13.

We then got a taxi back to our Hotel where we said a sad good-bye to Kid, we brought a present from Australia for Kid, some school stuff with Austrian flag on them. She wouldn't except any money that we offered her.

Had a few drinks at the Hotel then thought we wander out for Dinner at New Day Restaraunt & maybe the night market, we had a bit of a discussion about whether i should wear my Satchel with wallet & stuff, it was decided that i would just put my camera in my front short pocket, with Phone & wallet in my shirt pocket as we had heard it was hot for Pick pockets. As we were walking towards New day Di noticed a lady having a good look at my short pocket, she then nodded to a man who was sitting down who got up & was then walking just behind me, just as he was coming up beside me Di made me aware of what was going on. I let it be known that we were onto them, if it wasn't for Di's vigilance i probably would have lost my camera.

We had a nice dinner at New Day restaraunt of Spring Rolls, Chicken & cashews & fried rice with Seafood & returned back to the motel as the close shave with the pick pocketers had turned us off.
The cost of Dinner was around $20

Today was very hot, around 37.

Another great day had come to a close.

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