Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
92Trip End Apr 22, 2011
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Where I stayed
Hanoi Civility Hotel
The Flight to Hanoi was delayed by an hour so we sat and played cards until it was called. It was Vietnam's equivalent to Easy Jet but instead of sandwiches you could buy Pot Noodle. That was a new experience never had a pot noodle on a flight before. We arrived at 7.30pm and loaded ourselves on to a shuttle bus. We then sat there for another 45mins while they tried to fill the bus up. Finally it left and we got chatting to the Italian chap next to us about football. The Shuttle bus died with a cough and a splutter, and smoke poured out the back. 'Five minutes’ the bus driver said hurriedly as he dragged out this tool kit. There was no way this bus was going to be back in action in five minutes, the battery was dead and the smoke was bellowing out the back. We had no idea where we were, the airport was 35km out of town and we didn’t have a clue how long we had been travelling for. We flagging down taxis but they couldn’t understand where we wanted to go. Eventual we found an English speaking taxi driver, showed him an address of a hotel and four of us (the Italian and his friend) piled into his cab.
We pulled into a grubby street and the taxi driver indicated that the address we wanted was down the road. We piled out and went in search of accommodation. The Italian found a small hotel with rooms for $15 a night, ours was lovely, with a big plasma TV on the wall. We dropped the bags and went for a walk round the block to find some drinks for the room. It was 10.30pm by this time and everywhere was really quiet. We picked up a bottle of water and a can of coke and headed on back for some sleep.
We had two chores to do while in Hanoi, first we had to confirm our flight and secondly send a parcel home. So our mission for the first day was to find the Singapore Airlines office and pay them a visit. This turned out to be really easy and for once the information on line matched up with the actual location of the building.....unlike Bangkok which had us walking for 30min down Silon Road because the map had said it was the other end. The post office was only round the corner from the Singapore Airlines office so it was an easy walk to find out the details of costs and packaging.
We had a walk round the Hoan Kien Lake and then tried to get our baring round the maze of streets and alleyways that make up the Old Quarter of Hanoi. I am usually pretty good at map reading and directions but this was a real challenge. We ate that night in a small restaurant round the corner from us and chilled in our room watching our plasma TV.... not that there was much on, CSI New York and Miami and Ghost Whisperer.
We posted our parcel the next day and tried to navigate back to a road where we had had breakfast the previous day. I had booked in to have my hair done, not that Gary hasn’t been doing a cracking job but I feel it should be cut and coloured properly at least once while am away to keep the shape. Blonde is not the most popular colour in Vietnam and the choice was very limited......think Halle Berry in X-Men and you’ll have an idea of how blonde it was. Still it was fun to have it done and I got my hairdresser to pose with Bernie for a photo.
Vic and Rich flew in at 8.30pm that evening and we met up with them for our final dinner and drinks, before our flight to Singapore the next day. Drink isn’t as cheap in Hanoi as the rest of the country so we struggled to find a little bar that did reasonably priced drinks. Finally we found one that sold a beer Gary hadn’t had before and at happy hour prices. We drank and chatted all evening and ended our night by hiring two rickshaws and racing them back to our hotel...... we lost but the fact that our driver had to get off and push the bike and rickshaw up a very small hill, it gave me the feeling that we were perhaps a little heavier than the other two.
Gary woke up with a nasty hangover and I left him in bed while I finished packing the rucksacks. We jumped in a cab and made our way back to Hanoi airport for our flight to Singapore.
Vietnam has been great and we have really enjoyed our time here, unfortunately three weeks is not enough time to see it all and spend time in each place. So the plan at the moment is to fly back here at some point, after we have finished Australia and explore the places we missed out on this time round.