Man, this place is one absolutely mind blowing experience! Currently we are in Lao Cai awaiting the overnight train back to Hanoi. To kill time.. we walked to CHINA!!!
Let's start at the beginning... After an overnight in Singapore, we arrived in Hanoi four days ago. We were met by our guides from Griswalds Vietnamese Vacations at the airport and changed our Aussie money into Dong... $100 Aus = $1,196,000.00 Dong.. WAHOOOOO A MILLONAIRE in the first 60 minutes of being in Vietnam!
The ride to the hotel scared the living SH*T out of me.. Let me give you an overview of driving in VietNam..
- You may pass on the inside or the outside
- Don't drive in your lane, drive in the centre
- Toot your horn constantly if overtaking
- Toot your horn if going around a corner
- Toot your horn if you are bored
- Toot, toot, bloody toot
- If all lanes on your side of the road are full, feel free to cross the double yellow lines into oncoming traffic (tooting loudly)
Hanoi is an interesting city built around a lake which legend says contains a large turtle to which the king returned a magic sword after winning an important battle (just like the legend of King Arthur!).
First night there we saw the most beautiful 'Water Puppet' show.. Just how you control puppets in water is something to be seen! The colours and laquerware were beautiful.
One important thing to mention is crossing the road...the motor bike, bikes, buses, cars come at you thick and fast.. You close your eyes, take a deep breath, tell your mother your love her, and then walk slowly into the traffic! Amazingly you feel like Moses parting the red sea! (Photo does not do justice to the amount of traffic you would face...too scary to stand out on the road and take photos in peak traffic!)
There is so much to tell, but the highlights were Uncle Ho (he had just come back from a touchup in Russia and is looking pretty good for 120 years old), Ho's Humble little cottage,
Ho's museum, theTemple of Liturature (note I need to spend more time there!),
and the Women's Museum.
We loved Hanoi, the streets full of little store, the food, the people and the atmosphere . More photos can be found in our photo gallery.