Spring Break: Hanoi, Vietnam Part 1

Trip Start Jan 07, 2008
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Trip End May 21, 2008


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Alright. Spring Break March 7-17th 2008

First off.. i guess i am just really bad at keeping up with a blog.. you all know how i like to talk in person so writing is eh alright in my book haha. just kidding. i have wrote a lot here and im getting better at it. learning how to spell new words each day. haha but for real i am in Thai class. yep family ill show you a totally different language you have never seen before that is ver difficult to learn at first.

So Spring break south east Asia style. went to Vietnam and Cambodia with 5 other friends, and a 6th friend that met up with us later. John, Sarah, Chris, Jessica, and Braden. and Mac met us in Cambodia. So the countries and people are the basis for this blog. and by the way best travel group ever! for real, no problems or fights, fun people, seemed like we all had the same mind set for the trip and things we wanted to do. i am very glad i went. before they asked me to come i had plans to go on the school trip to the islands. that would of been fun but this spring break was a trip of a life time.

Well first off. the group met in Bangkok on the 7th a friday night for johns bday. he turned 22 that night so we went out and stayed up all night cause we had to catch a plane around 6am at the Bangkok airport and needed to be there around 4 am so what was the point of getting a hostel.. so we went to a couple bars and danced all night. and ended up napping in Mac's hostel room for about a half hour then we all stumbled to a taxi and off we went to the airport. everyone was on no sleep and a had a couple drinks in em, but we all made it through the airport fine and found our way. luckily no one was to tired to mess things up. then around 6am we boarded the plane and we were off to Hanoi, Vietnam. I think i fell asleep on the plane i usually fall asleep on every means of transportation as everyone witness during the trip. it was my signature thing to do while traveling. yeah i fall asleep with my head back and it looks as though my neck hurts alot and i have my mouth opened wide while i sleep. funny site i guess. people say i look dead from the pics i do. haha. so we woke in Hanoi. very different place than home in thailand. the officers in the airport look so offical it is kinda scary. made it through the airport and to a taxi, gave directions and rode for about 45 mins. first thing we all noticed was that people in Viet Nam love and i mean love to honk their horns. it got very annoying after awhile. seemed like people would just honk for no reason. well our taxi driver took us to around the right part of town we wanted to go but that the hostel we told him. some guy opened our taxi and was like Welcome come in and all. Thankfully Braden knew better and had been following a map and knew that the hotel was not the right place. side note: alot of places in asia are big in taxi scams to tourist. alot of the times no matter what you say a taxi driver will take you to hotel our hostel they are hired by on the side. this can be very frustrating for many people if you are not aware of it. But Braden handle it like a pro and just clamly told the driver you have not taken us to the place we asked you. the man at the hostel was very upset when we did not get out cause we knew better. almost a very convincing guy. they will do anything for the business. so finally we went on our way to the real hostel after the guy slammed Braden's door since he was pissed. haha

Made it to the real place called M&H Travel co., Sinh Cafe, RELAX. yeah it had like three names. i called it Relax cause it was funnier that way. got some rooms and the lady at the front was very very nice and helpful. She showed us this little place down the street cause we told her we were very hungry. BEST PLACE TO EAT. yeah first meal in Viet Nam was great. it was this bowl with noodles, meat, greens, and in a broth with spices and cripsy onions or Kellogg flakes on top. i downed that food and i could of made my way to 4ths if i wanted, if i lived in Hanoi that place could make enough money off just me. to those of you who know how much i like Penn Station, which i miss alot, possibly fist meal back in St. Louis we will see. but this noodle place was my Penn Station in Hanoi yeah i fell in love with more food. wow the way i am talking sounds like im 500lbs. which im not. i dont think i have even put on any weight here. luckily not lost any. ....anyways back to Hanoi.. after food we napped for awhile to have engery for the night. Well that night we went to go see the Water Puppet show down the street. a very popular entertainment. It is a Vietnamese traditions. These people are behind this big curtain standing in a big pool of water with a scene around them. They use these long sticks to control the puppets and basically just splash around in the water. ha no im kidding, they act out old stories and there is like a band to the side playing this sweet music. this girl was like busting out mad skill on this type of guitar. yeah she was shredding it up. oh and so this guy behind me had this huge video camera and i guess my big head was in his way. so i think he bumped maybe on purpose not sure. i look and he mumbles something then i say "what" and then he says sorry. he was like and older dude too. like 50s probably. but if he would of said your head is in the way. oh snap it would of been on. i would of thrown some bows while the water puppets were going on. i hate it when people are rude, the old rich stuck up people on holiday in asia and just are stupid. so then after that i guess my head was still in his way so he stood up and mumbled "shit, fucking, shit" haha and like walked/climbed outta his row to a better spot. haha. im glad my head pissed him off. his camera was to big to be bringing in a water puppet show. damn they had DVD's for sale might as well just buy that if you wanted that kind of quality. after the water puppets we all sorted through small gifts for family and all. oh i forgot on they way to the puppet show some lady with this basket thing that they carry on their shoulder i guess stop someone so i came back to check it out. she was selling pineapple and bananas. before i knew it she put the basket thing on my shoulder and Chris snapped a pic. i tried to take it off. but oh no a pic cost money haha. i couldnt take the thing off til i gave her some money. but she gave me a ton of bananas and pineapple. forgot to mention earlier that Vietnam currency is called "Dong" . yeah there were plenty of childish jokes while in Vietnam. John and I kept it going the whole time, only in Vietnam though while the "dong" was in our pants .. haha see it is so easy ..the jokes just roll right out . try it out. trust me its fun.

Next we found this bar called Balcony down the street. very hip place. ofcourse up stairs with a balcony, hints the name. pretty fun place. had a beer or two.. and we ordered a hookah which was really a really good taste.. um i think it was rose? maybe. anyways we hung out there for ahwile and then at one point a bar tender went out the door and then ran in really really fast jumped over a couch thing and turned the music off. i was very confused. then the door files open and this officer walks in a started yelling vietnamese at us all. pointing to his watch and the door. it was like 11:30 so we didnt know what to do. we sat there like everyone else til a bar tender came up and told us just to leave and not worry about the last round of drinks. we asked what was up. and he said it was a law that bars are suppose to close at 7pm. that is crazy early. we walked outside and saw the streets were dead. no one was out. gates were down at places when only about 2 hours previous the town was semi happening. that was the only down side to Hanoi, that is closed down early. oh yeah and the honking. so we walked back to the hostel and had to wake the workers who were sleeping in the lobby to open the gate. haha. they were covered up on the floor looked like dead bodies covered up at a murder scene. thankfully they woke up and were not dead. that would of sucked we couldnt of got to our rooms and then it would of been a crime scene and we would proably be questioned and all. i didnt need that on spring break. and yes for real, the thought of them dead and covered crossed my mind when i first saw them. call me crazy but hey i dunno how they do things in Hanoi. haha. anyways.......went to bed after that.

Early the next morning we woke to go to Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. So we had to get there extremely early cause it is only open from early morning to 11 or noon. i duuno why. well outside the huge fenced off area there was a huge line of people waiting alot of school children who were really cute. they all would yell HELLO to us as we made our way to the back of the line. i made sure to yell back HELLO as loud as them. i just dont get those kind of hellos back home. and since i have been using HELLO alot. i dont think any gets it around here maybe the people i went with but im pretty sure a couple people think i am crazy. so after waiting in line awhile we got to enter the building, and there is just alot of guards in there and the line has to keep moving around his body and the building was really cold. i dunno how those guys can stand in there all day with out catching a cold. well Ho Chi Minh's body looks good if you all wanted to know. he is just hanging out in there. a nice area with a light on him. it was really cool to see over all. i mean such a famous man who isnt even suppose to be laying there. well that was about the only thing we did there.

Well we called this day museum day. cause after Ho Chi Minh we went to the Museum of Ethnology and learned alot about Vietnam. Yep learned how people do thing in different areas of the country and from back in the day. there was alot of things that didnt make any sense to me. languages i couldnt read made it difficult. but they did have english descriptions and videos to watch. i watched this one of i think young men becoming men in the tribe. a whole bunch of rituals, i sat on this little wood stool in front of a small tv with prop like figures and scenes around to recreate how the tribe looked and did things. that was to paint a picture for you. so im in this room by myself on a little stool watching these men do the most random stuff. it was all randomness i swear. not a whole lot of painful things like on national geographic but just weird and kinda funny stuff. for example these crazy old men clapped their hands in different directions for awhile, like side to side up and down almost like paddy cake haha. they did dances, ate stuff, drank stuff, i think they threw dice at one point. oh and this old man keep doing a tumbling roll on a mat. i think they may of all just been drunk. i got a couple good laughs and alot of confusion.

Next stop was Hoa Lo Prison, "The Hanoi Hilton" that was the nickname for it given by American troops because it was said the Americans had a nice time there. I find it hard to believe any one had a great time there. Well there was parts of the prison left that had been made into a museum and have statues in the cells to recreate what the prison was like. it was very creepy. i got to see where John McCain was. Some of that place was very hard to look at and read about. lots of people died and just bad living conditions. oh something really neat about it. well some how a lot of people escaped from there, it was a prison so i guess they just had really bad security at one point cause over the course of like a week like a ton of people climbed through the sewer. wouldn't they noticed when a ton of people went missing. i dunno that is what i gathered from a reading on the wall. but for real it was really neat to see they had a piece of the sewer on display, that thing is tiny. good thing Vietnamese people are tiny. they like hacked away at the medal with some type of acid during the night. and also there was this oak tree in the court area, i think it was an oak tree. but the prisoners used the leafs to heal their wounds and the minerals to cure sickness and to hide papers in. it was a really nice looking tree to. very inspiring to know that some people only had this tree to give them hope to surviving the prison. really powerful stuff... well after that nothing much else happened that day, ate, napped went out at night.

so i will be continuing with my spring break in upcoming blogs, there will be a couple parts. just figured id put this up for now until i finish the rest or part 2. and this was long enough for everyone to read through for awhile. exciting things coming in part 2!

-josh
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