Motorbikes Mayhem, And A Mission.
Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
403Trip End Dec 31, 2018
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Where I stayed
Than Long Opera Hotel
We had a bit of a mission in mind for Hanoi - to get my camera fixed. The first day we asked at a camera retailer and were given the address of a Sony repair centre, we found this and they in turn gave us another address. We set out to find this on the 2nd day. With excellent map reading skills, Avan got us there, only to find they had just shut for a 2 hour lunch. We returned to be told that they couldn't help us and they gave us another address which was a lane way not even marked on our map, back near where we started yesterday
The son completely took my camera apart, then tried to fit a new lens but it wasn't the right one. Well this is what we perceived happened - we couldn't communicate. He cleaned it and put it all back together again. Tested it and then pulled it all apart again. By this time an hour had gone by and Dad just kept pouring us more tea, even though we tried to smilingly say no. Our bladders were at bursting point and we were also very hungry as we hadn't had lunch. Finally it was all back together again, minus a part but working all the same. We think he tried to say that we still need to get that part put in when we get home - but who knows
Next came the problem of payment. Dad wrote down on a piece of paper 500,000 dong. This is around $25A quite cheap by Australian standards for almost two hours work, but we didn't have quite enough. We wrote on the piece of paper "ATM?" Next the son is gesturing for one of us to climb on the back of his motorbike to go to the ATM - OK - just do it - I thought! I climbed on the back and rode through the scary streets of Hanoi weaving in and out of the pedestrians and was safely deposited at an ATM, drew out the money, and then climbed back on the bike again. Normally I never get on motorbikes but I became carried away with the moment and laughed all the way back to the shop at the sheer joy of a travel moment to remember. Scary but fun. Our debt paid and the camera working, we tried to leave but Dad pressed one more cup of tea on us and this one was even worse as he made a new batch and it tasted absolutely foul. Eventually with a few bows and thank yous we finally escaped and set out on foot to find a toilet first, then food, laughing all the way about our experience.
Hanoi is a delight. The footpaths and streets are wide and hassling is at a minimum. Food is cheap and delicious and there are the French influences of crusty baguette's, yoghurt and delicate pastries. Cheap and tasty food is not limited to the street. Restaurant meals with a drink each are around $10 to $15 for the both of us - total bill, but sounds horrific when the bill arrives in dong with each US dollar inflated 19,000 times.