Let's Blow a Million

Trip Start Jan 12, 2013
Trip End Feb 14, 2013

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Where I stayed
Golden Time Hostel 2

Flag of Vietnam  , Ha Nội,
Monday, January 14, 2013

I just wrote you all a long e-mail that disappeared into the hotel computer's worm hole. It was pretty interesting--about my breakfast. I'll tell you about it when you get here tomorrow night.

I have just reserved 2 rooms with 5 beds for us all on Tuesday night, January 15. The total price will be  one-million Vietnamese dong (relax, it's only about $9.50 per person). I spent last night in a single room for $15, and will be there again tonight.

IF YOU ALL DECIDE NOT TO STAY IN THIS HOTEL, LET ME KNOW AND I WILL CANCEL THE RESERVATION. It's not a backpacker place, but it's close (4-minute walk) to the backpacker area north of famous Lake Hoan Kiem.

The hotel is the Golden Time Hostel 2, at #8 Ly Thai To Street, (84-4)3825-9654, 100 feet from the  intersection with Lo-Su Street that is two very short blocks from the north shore of Lake Hoan Kiem. "Tony" will show me where to catch the airport shuttle tomorrow night (for $2) and I will come to meet you at the airport (I will show up an hour early just in case you have a great tailwind from Seoul).

The hotel has internet (three computers next to the main entrance that people keep
opening--and it is freezing outside, probably about 10C/50F) and wifi. The breakfast I mentioned above is free and good. My bed is a comfortable spring mattress. The shower water is hot and powerful. The toilet is a torrent. The toilet paper is smooth and satiny. The television is all
Vietnamese (who wants to watch T.V. in Hanoi?!?).


I wandered around the backpacker "haven/ghetto/economic opportunity" and found 2 backpacker hotels/dorms that we can rent the whole dorm room (6 beds) for $45. However, this hotel for $50 (2 rooms/5 beds) is perhaps windowless, but quieter than the tourist streets and madding crowds just north of the lake. I walked around for 2 hours just to remember how hectic it is, and it's definitely not the normal Hanoi scene, in fact it's not a normal scene in any city in the world. Every fifth establishment is either a convenience store, cafe, tour agency, hotel, souvenear shop, bar, or a place to eat--is that five or six?

I did stumble across a "recommended" cafe (Cafe Nang) in that area, and it truly is a hole-in-the-wall which apparently only serves coffee, so it must be good, right? We'll see.

There's an Indian restaurant across the street that has been closed (renovating? health code violations?) but will re-open tomorrow morning at 10:30. I'll try lunch and let you know if I get sick.

Please bring my new bank cards from America. I just changed the last of my Chinese money. Without those cards I have no access to U.S. dollars, and my Chinese bank card doesn't work on this side of the border.
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