The real Asia
Trip Start May 03, 2009
24Trip End Aug 31, 2009
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Back to Hong Kong for a minute. What a great place to start this adventure. Thanks to our British ancestors for bombing China in the 1800's. We learned that it was over opium. The Chinese and Brits were trading partners, but the Chinese weren't too interested in anything the Brits had to offer so the import/export balance was uneven. The Brits began exporting opium to China, grown in India. The Chinese finally had enough of that and seized the ships and dumped the opium in the harbour. The Brits attacked. The peace treaty gave England Hong Kong. All that to explain why Hong Kong was so easy to travel in. Almost everyone speaks English. We had a great time there.
We landed in Hanoi yesterday in a torential downpour that flooded many streets. After the most harrowing cab ride of my life (and yes, I have been the passenger in a car that Murray was driving) we arrived at the Win Hotel. Now this is what I was hoping to find here. Tiny streets crowded with people, bikes and I an sure we have seen and heard over 1 million scooters honking and flying around already. Walking on the sidewalk isn't even safe, because this is where they park the scooters, forcing you onto the street. The IRSU boys wouldn't know where to begin. There seems to be some semblance of traffic flow, but no sense of order. Crossing the street is a complete leap of faith in the abilitly of the drivers and scooters. After eating lunch at the Kangaroo Cafe and booking two tours, one to Sapa and the other to Ha Long Bay we ventured out. Reid scored a pair of Nike sandals from a street corner, we were assured that Nike would receive their cut. Then we went to a water puppetry show, common only to northern Vietnam. We all loved it! Those YVR wishing well coins apparently did their trick as while waiting to enter the show we ran into a Nanaimo family who have been living and travelling in Vietnam (the Burnleys). Carolyn had been in touch with them through a mutual friend (thanks Nicole) but weren't sure that we would meet up in our respective journies. The boys t-shirts gave us away, but apparently I was recognizable as a "cop".
More sight seeing in Hanoi today then an overnight trip into the mountains on a train. Should be a very peaceful and restful sleep prior to doing some hiking in the mountains, likely in the mud and rain. We get back to Hanoi at 5 am in a few days then depart for Ha Long Bay at 8 am for three days on a boat. All for now.