Honking is the music of Hanoi
Trip Start Dec 28, 2009
18Trip End Mar 02, 2010
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Dirty smelly and so noisy. It seems like there are just too many people in too small of a place. Our tour guide to the Perfume Pagoda told us the ratio of the population to the number of mopeds (I forget the exact numbers), but practically everyone over 15 has one.
But it's very easy to get lost here; not only because it's chaos but because it's so diverting. This is most true of the Old Quarter, a collection of tiny narrow alleyways lined with shops selling silk, wood works, fake sunnies etc. But it's also full of street vendors. These we learned very quickly to avoid!
"You buy! You buy!"
"verry verry cheap"
Is called out after you down the street, even after you've politely declined
But the number one tip is to never look lost when in the old quarter! On one particularly cramped street we got lost and before we knew it were accosted by two ladies selling fruit. We declined and then before I knew it I was pushed against the wall as the lady put her baskets on my shoulder and stuck her hat on my head. I knew immediatley what was happening as she instructed Dave to take a photo, but he laughed along and obliged-that was until she strated crooing "you pay me 50,000 dong now!" We refused but they started screaming and crying so in the end we paid just to escape.
After 4 days here I've realised that the favourite past time of the vietnamese is eating! Every street corner is occupied by street vendors cooking pho for hungry customers who sit on tiny chairs or squat. The left over space is then used as a moped parking bay. Even the musems including the Ho Chi Minh complex closes for two hours in the middle of the day for lunch!
It's easy to understand why they eat so much: The food is delicious!!
We ate at Quan An Ngon for lunch one day and it was by far my favourite (pictures to come). It's this collection of street vendors congregated within a fence to create an informal restuarant. We had about 6 dishes, one was 'shrimp' (more like king prawns) with lemon grass and chilli all for under $16 Australian.
We've also been to the perfume pagoda, which in hindsight was a mistake considering the weather. It was rainy and foggy so we couldn't see any views and after travelling 2 hours by car, one hour by sampan and and 2 hour walk each way it was a let down :( but the pagoda was amazing I'll put pictures up soon.
Don't worry Andrew I haven't yet come across any dogs on the menu :) xoxo