Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
102Trip End Dec 22, 2010
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Where I stayed
When we finally did venture outside we very surprised to see a bright blue sky, something we had not sen since leaving Hoi An. The weather was actually very nice today, not too hot and not cold with some brilliant sunshine. We wanted to see the north west part of the city today so we headed in that direction, hoping to find something to eat along the way. Unfortunately our efforts were futile and in the 45 minute walk to the botanical gardens, we only passed a few street cafes selling drinks a couple of street vendors that didn't look very appetising. We really haven't tried much street food in Vietnam, which some people will probably say is a crime, but the standard of hygein at the street stalls is very poor and we really just didn't want to get sick
We got to the botanical gardens eventually, still feeling very hungry and paid our 10 cents each to get in. We were glad it didn't cost any more because this really wasn't worth the effort. There were two ok looking lakes and some nice trees, but the map made it seem like this was a vast garden setting, when in reality it was mostly taken up with buildings and today they seemed to be occupied by various wedding parties. The only thing to see were some pathetic looking peacocks and monkeys kept in cages.
Once we realised there was nothing else to see here we started to take a circuitous route back to our hotel, passing by the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum an the Palace. We decided against going into the mausoleum as we weren't feeling like seeing the embalmed body of Uncle Ho and really wanted to find some food. Not far passed the mausoleum we found a cute looking cafe and happily sat down for a late lunch. I ordered noodle soup with pork and Rich ordered spaghetti with Napoli sauce. Well, our happy mood soon faded when the food came, as it was not very good. Mine was ok and I was happy to have a full tummy, but poor Rich ended up with spaghetti floating in tomato soup
More walking around this part of the city and we were not really impressed. This part of town seemed very sterile with not much to see, mostly government buildings. I couldn't even take pictures because most of the buildings were guarded by army guards. We even tried to do some shopping but the stores cater mostly for the locals. The things they sell range from motor bike seat covers, to bamboo ladders, zippers and other hardware. Not really things we were too interested in looking at. Hanoi is definitely not a really touristy town, which many people may say is good, but when you are a tourist, there is not much to see. We were really just killing time.
Back to the hotel we spent some time looking at what to do in Hong Kong before we ventured back out for dinner. We walked a bit further afield tonight to try and find some semi decent food and ended up at an old restaurant in a tunnel house. Vietnam levies taxes on the frontage of the building, so many are really really narrow and are called tunnel houses. This restaurant was pretty good and although Rich only had a burger, he liked it and I enjoyed my Vietnamese chicken curry. At least we had one decent meal here, but we are so looking forward to Hong Kong and the food there.
On the way back to the hotel we stumbled upon a night market and bought some DVDs before making our way back for the night. We have enjoyed Vietnam but are definitely ready to move on. Hong Kong, here we come!