Hanoi City Tour, Bun Bo Nam Bo

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hanoi Rendezvous Hotel

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

07:45 Day 80 of my round the world trip. I'm not sure how mr Fogg managed it, but I do know that only spending 80 days going round the whole world meant he must have missed out on a lot.

Aw, and some lovely posts from my friends!

In response to my dear friend Andrew who asked some excellent questions which are very worthy of noting down at this point because when I look back at what I've written here in due course, I too might wonder the same.
My rucksack is now a decent weight, I'm not sure what as I've not seen any scales in ages, but I don't suffer so much now! I'm also down to the one rucksack, so all round much more manageable as I think I'm actually almost with what I need, although there are certainly some clothes that I think I don't need.

I'm not homesick, I miss my friends yes, vey much, particularly when on some days I feel a bit sad or lonely, but I know everyone is there reading with me, and as long as people keep sending me comments or emails then I dont feel so alone. The number of comments have lessened, which I knew they probably would, but I have to tell you all, when I wake up in the morning and I have messages or emails from you, is absolutely the best thing in my day.

I don't miss hong kong now, because I'm enjoying it here, but at the same time I miss all the places I've been because they've all been so wonderful.

My absolute favourite places have been:
St Petersburg and Lake Baikal for the stunning beauty of them.
Japan for the calm and friendly people and also some of the landscape, much of which I didn't get a chance to see.
China for the amazing temples and ancient history of the forbidden city as well as the hidden treasures such as landscape of Guilin that I never knew about. You hear China and think Great Wall, but there is SO much more there that people should know about.
Hong Kong because of the connection I feel to it as well as the charm of the ferries and trams, but also the brilliance of the MTR.

My favourite moments have been:
The friendliness of the people who greeted me so warmly in my hostel in Russia on that first day I ended up on the wrong side of town.
Meeting Anita, Rishy and Steve and having such fun and laughs with them throughout my Siberian train trip. Of particular note being the snowball fight on the top of the hill in Listvyanka.
The dog sledding was incredible and still a top favourite.
Climbing the most difficult hill and making it to the top, but then with the help of Steve and Rishy, making it onto a rock just too difficult to get on myself. Then looking at the view i had 'won' and just feeling a massive sense of achievement after the horrors of my almost constant disability last year.
Meeting friends of friends in various places and being warmly greeted and looked after so well.
Taking the bullet train through japan.
Seeing the great wall and how far it went on into the distance.
The striking beauty of Yangshuo and the Li River.
The excitement of arriving in hong kong for the first time after 32 years of waiting.
Going to Stanley and the first realisation that the island isn't all towering buildings and heaving streets, but more island like.
Being invited round to Sara and Roys the first time was fantastic, but to be invited round again, AND to be eating some food I haven't had in a while, particularly the cheese pie! Wow! It was like giving someone in the desert a drink of water after a month without any, that was how amazing it was to eat cheese pie. I don't think I knew how much I'd miss cheese, I now I know!

So far, those have been my best bits.

My lows?
Getting plonked at the wrong place in Russia.
Tonsilitis in Japan
The backbreaking weight of my bag at times.
Mostly though it's what i don't write about, which is the almost daily struggle to try and forget my past year, I am slowly managing to bury it under more things, but it has been difficult and my daily low.

Fortunately I haven't had too many actual holiday lows, and long may it last although I know it gives a good story!
08:58 I went on a tour today, this was to be a day tour of the city.
The First stop west lake and the jun quoc pagoda, here there is a coffin of monk who died in 2001. It's the oldest temple in Hanoi. It also contains some figurines of a lady who was said to have had 50 sons and 50 daughters who created population of vietnam (seems a bit wrong!)

 09:34 Next we went to Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum. Ho chi minh died in 1969 and was embalmed somewhere but he was moved to the mausoleum in 1976.
It was a very surreal experience. We had to leave our bags, no cameras, phones were ok and wallets. We queued up an outside were lots of guards in White and gold uniforms. The place was incredibly cold with air con. In line people were told off for talking, laughing, looking in a book, even holding your arms in any other position than by your sides! As we filed through, there he was, 4 armed guards stand round coffin and him lying there in a glass coffin, in a darkened room, White as snow and a blanket up to his stomach and hands on top as if sleeping.

After that we walked around the area where he lived and worked, including a stilt house.
10:13 Ho chi Minh museum is a bit odd, mostly art, couldn't really understand it. He made a statement about it being everyones duty and right to vote, yet this is a communist country, and I was pretty sure communist countries didn't get to vote? Anyway, there was yet more 'look what the Americans did' exhibits. I can see people looking at me, no doubt wondering if I'm American. Where is a Scottish flag badge when you need it? No one hates the Scottish, it's a safe bet. Anyway, I'm half scottish, part English, part french and was born in hong kong. Confused about where I'm from? I know I am, technically mostly Scottish though.
10:23 Following on from my previous musing, I asked our guide, they can vote, but only for one party, and the party elect the president. So, seems a little pointless then.
11:16 We stopped at an embroidery place owned by the government where disabled people embroider canvas
12:53 Temple of literature and confucious

13:23 Side saddle riders
Biggest thing seen 10 foot double glazed windows either side! Or was it the 20 foot plastic pipe slung over the shoulder!
Bloke having a poo on highway! Eww!
14:12 Pottery village where they make pottery together, I had a go!

15:04 Ngoc son temple

 20:12 Bun bo nam bo dinner. Fantastic!
20:38 I've grown used to being hot and damp at all times. Sunlotion on the face is pointless as it runs into my eyes and stings, a little frustrating!

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Calgraz on

Hey Zoe, sorry I havn't commented in a bit, been so busy myself revently. Just caught up on the last 10 blogs, and Wow, what a trip your having. Looks like your having so much fun. Apart from the heat, I can understand your pain in regards to how shitty hot and damp feels being Scottish too. You should have told me you were part Scottish and I would have interwoven the Soltair into the Blubloods design for you, or do you prefer the Lion Rampant?
Well keep having loads of fun and letting us know how your doing.
Love Cal. X

mandy edwards on

the mausoleum is a surreal experience for sure - spooky - I got told off

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