Motorbikes Mayhem, And A Mission.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
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Trip End Dec 31, 2018


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Where I stayed
Than Long Opera Hotel

Flag of Vietnam  , Ha Nội,
Friday, February 26, 2010

Plenty of advice flies around about how to cross a road in Hanoi. There is only one way - just do it! Walk and keep walking. We settled into the pace crossing many roads on a really long walk, straight after we arrived, to the Ho Chi Ming Complex.  The traffic is amazing, but there doesn't seem to be any agro, everybody just weaves in and out and around and everybody does their best to dodge each other. Not always with success!!.

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. We set off and found the place and it was in some ways like walking back in time. As we opened the door to the tiny shop an elderly Vietnamese gent smiled effusively at us and gestured us to sit down. He then poured us cups of tea from a china teapot, into tiny little china cups.  It was obvious he spoke no English but loved his role of greeting the customers.He then called what was probably his son to come from out the back and help. To our dismay, he had no English either but keenly took my camera and started working on it. Meanwhile Dad had refilled our cups with his tea. We were both desperate for a toilet and more tea was the last thing we wanted! Dad kept gesturing for us to drink our tea. The tea tasted like it had come from the cow shed - a sort of dirty hay taste and smell!
 
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.   
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Comments

JOJO on

how is the traffic.................. CRAZY!!!!!!!!!. you may as well close your eyes and cross the street and you'll just make it to the other side surprisingly in 1 piece. And the adventures of Hanoi. We had a few of them.
hehe
hope you're having lots of fun. You should be heading to Sapa soon then hey?

Laura on

Hey,
Could you please post the address of the camera saving tea shop in Hanoi? I got some water in mine tubing and am struggling to find someone to save me in luang Prabong. If u don't have it do u have any advice on an area?
Thank you!
Laura

heatheravan
heatheravan on

Hi Laura - All I can remember was that it was in the old quarter, HOAN KIEM DISTRICT. It was not too far from the big lake that has the pagoda. We stayed at the Thang Long Opera hotel and the repair shop was maybe several kms walk away from where we stayed. The offical Sony shop sent us to one repairer and he sent us to the one who fixed the camera. I don't have the actual address. Good luck and happy travels...... Heather

Laura on

Thanks Heather, I'll start from there and hopefully will find them! Laura

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