Sweet and sour

Trip Start Jun 16, 2006
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Trip End Feb 2007


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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, August 17, 2006

We're leaving Vietnam with "sweet and sour" impressions.

The sweet part is endless delightful scenes and people:
- the way some Vietnamese, especially the women, wear clothes identical to western pijamas so that it often appears that they've stubbled out of bed
- brilliant coffee that drains into the cup as you wait and is whitened with condensed milk
- gregarious Vietnamese women
- sitting at the lake side in Hanoi watching cute grandpas and kids chasing each other around
- the cleaner in our hotel in Hanoi who tidied our bombsight of a room, we came back to find clothes (even dirty undies) folded and piled, books and papers stacked, shoes and bottles in the bathroom lined up

The sour is being unable to trust these delightful people, as much as you want to and sometimes try to, and tours and buses that don't live up to even basic expectations.

We caught an overnight train from Hue to Hanoi, where the highlights were the water puppet show, sipping drinks by the pretty but slimy green lake and discovering a supermarket. The one day Halong Bay tour was a let down not helped by torrential rain -had its funny moments like when one of the guides declared Jo was the most beautiful person he'd ever seen (she told him he needed to get out more). Scrambled back to quickly down some dinner and catch the overnight train to Lao Cai (border town).
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