Hanoi - Land of the Moped

Trip Start Jul 07, 2011
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

After a nice long bath, i eventually dragged myself into the real world this morning after waking up really late due to choosing to not only snooze but turn off my alarm this morning.

today was an organising day for us, and in the space of an hour we seemed to have it all sorted...or so we thought (more on that)

we arranged some flight and a tour to halong bay, which looks great, not a bad price considering what we get included, and we have two days and a night on a junk boat touring halong bay, which just looks so beautiful. (am slightly skethching out about sleeping on a boat...all the deep water - will probably sleep in water wings just in case). Just hope the other people on the boat are ok, as there is not many places to escape them if not.

we also arranged some flights to the middle of vietnam, as this seemed like a sensible thing to do as most of the things we want to see/do are at the very top and then from the middle down.

we decided to go out, and then it rained, of course it did, so we pootled about in the lobby until it stopped, as it was bucketing down and i was not in the mood to be soggy.

once it had stopped, clutching our map we left our hotel with the mission of a nice walk around the lake and to buy some sim cards.

it was hot today. too hot. just too hot. adems face looked like a waterfall, and i just did my usual turn bright red and shiny in the face trick. bought some sim cards from a man who spoke no english, so was a bit skeptical when i left him clutching my sim card called the tomato...right....the tomato...

after a few hasty road crossings, involving one were i broke adems flip flop in my haste to not get hit my a moped maniac we made it to the lake. and did i mention it was hot. just so hot hot hot. i had the nice idea of a walk around the lake, but that did not happen, instead we walked about ten metres around to the bridge, bought some tickets to the temple in the middle of it, where they have a model of a giant turtle...which symbolises something or other...can't recall, it was too hot. the lake is special though, as an ancient important person was meant to have hidden a magic sword in the lake...maybe the giant turtle is its protector? i could be completely making this up?

we  decided a cool drink was the best option, so went to a rooftop cafe adem had read about, a great place to watch the hustle and bustle of the roads and look over the lake, a little cooler up there too which was a blessing. adem got the most yummy drink, called yoghurt shake, which was yoghurt with fresh lime zest. so good that i finished my watermelon fruit shake in two gulps and swiftly ordered myself a yoghurt shake! we sat up there and just people watched, then adem led us back to the hoste without getting us lost. something i don't think i could do, as the old quarter is confusing, the road changes name every ten metres or so and there are no real landmarks to look for, everything looks pretty much the same...little shops and a cafe with low down stools on every corner.

then we started looking for accomodation in our next stop , hue, and how to get from danang airport to hue....

we then realised that we had booked the wrong flights and could have flown to hue and from danang to hue would take between 2-4 hours to get to. great. i could feel myself getting cross, i hate making mistakes like that.

luckily for only 8 dollars more each the lady who booked our flights for us managed to exchange them for a flight to hue...phew! so now we have booked the right flights and got some accomodation,so the organising can take a rest...all we have to do is buy a bus pass, but i think that could wait until hue.

oh yes, one thing that happened that really pissed me off today was when we went to buy some shower gel. we clearly paid too much, but as we were hot and ready for a sit down we didn't really care, it was only 2/3 quid, and the woman selling it to us found it so funny that she rung her mate and made us say how much we paid for it down the phone. i tool real offence at this, and went and bought another one from another shop, despite having bought the other one, as i just didn't want to use it. so far, i have not found the vietnamese as friendly as the thai...but then i have not been here long or met that many!

decided to get take out and have a picnic on our lovely balcony tonight, adem ate buffalo....i had chicken cooked in passion fruit sauce and catfish spring rolls, which were like really nice fish fingers, great meal!

tomorrow off to watch the water puppets.

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