Pit Stop in Hanoi

Trip Start Jun 05, 2011
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120
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Trip End Feb 28, 2013


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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Friday, June 1, 2012

5/31-6/1Sapa to Lao Cai (1 hr bus ride) to Hanoi (8 hr train ride) 
 

Sleeper train SP2 departs at 8:30 PM and arrives in Hanoi at 6 AM (actual arrival time 4:45)

Our train compartment mates were two Chinese businessmen who crossed the border at Lao Cai and were on their way to Hanoi. One was anxious to practice a few words of English. From what we gathered, their business was selling 'Bull'. Possibly they were just full of that but may be they actually sold BULL.

When we want a trip to be fast it, often has delays. We were expecting to arrive in Hanoi at 6am and were awoken at 4:45 am and told that we were arriving in Hanoi central. We figured we'd have to call our hotel (Holiday Diamond Hotel) who we had told about our 6 AM arrival time and that we arrived more than an hour early. We sleepily followed the fellow passengers over the platform and several tracks toward the exit. To our utter delight, a spunky young man in his red doorman's uniform held a sign in front of us with:

HOLIDAY DIAMOND HOTEL
  DAVE AND MICHELLE

 
How great is that? At 5 AM, our taxi pulled up at the hotel where we expected to have to wait a while to get into our room. But no, a lovely room was waiting for us with rose petals sprinkled on our bed and fresh flowers in bathroom. This is 5-star service for budget price of $25. A fantastic breakfast buffet is included as well. We showered and slept for a few hours.

 
The temperature in Hanoi was not as stifling hot as a few weeks ago. Dave did go on a shopping quest and picked up tickets for the not to be missed water puppet performance for our last night, the 3rd of June.

New favorite Vietnamese dish:

Bun Cha. A fresh lime and sugar & fish sauce over thin rice noodles add roasted pork and pork meatballs with sort of bouillon, peanuts, mint, young lettuce leaves, cilantro, and basil. Yummmmn

Our friendly front desk staff recommended Bun Cha Dac Kim at #1 Hang Manh, a popular hole-in-the-wall place for Hanoi locals. The basic ingredients were the same as the version served at Sapa Rooms. But here everything came on separate plates and bowls. A massive pile of greens, noodles, broth and big bowls of meat were haphazardly placed on our table. No concern for proper manners here! We dug in. It too was delicious! We should have taken our own pictures but we found Chris at  http://www.myeggnoodles.com/bun-cha-at-dac-kim-hanoi.html expertly captures the vibe.
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