Days 236, 237… Hanoi
Day 236… Today we wake early for a little sunrise action… but the overcast skies and curling mists make for a lacklustre view. Not that the 2 are connected… the mists rise and curl here all the time regardless of weather… its an experienced mist and has curling down to at very fine art. Then we hop off the boat onto a ferry, followed by a bus back to Hanoi (approx. 3 hours) for some free time and our 2nd of 3 farewell group dinners. On the bus is recall an amusing anecdote from the Cambodian trip where we were doing a cyclo night tour and we stopped by the imperial palace (LIGHTS!!) then had a go at cycling them as opposed to being driven around. I went. Great. Then the young welsh girl Priti had a go and I volunteered to be the passenger. Great. Then as our guide organised the next person, and Priti and I were standing about chatting in the dark… an unrelated cyclo flew past us. Rose our guide immediately flew into blind panic and ran after the cyclo shouting Priti can’t go anywhere, she can’t ride on the road. God bless her, when she discovered that she was standing with us, she immediately flung her little arms around her… thankful her charge had not, in fact, headed out like a lunatic into Cambodian traffic. Rose was a brilliant guide.
Day 237… There is plenty to see and do in my free time in Hanoi as the place is as full of life as a mouldy old cheese on a hot day, as loud as a curse in a church, as colorful as a nasty bruise and as full of activity, industry, bustle and sheer exuberant busyness as a dead dog on an ant hill. That analogy will become clearer later in this post… bear with me. In Hanoi there are temples with doors wide open, filling the streets with the sounds of gongs, bells, and drums. There are shops whose strange wares spill out on to the pavement in bizarre micro quarters (such as the sticky tape quarter near the hotel). And at night there seems to be a decent amount of friendly young ladies who couldn’t afford many clothes. The place also includes a myriad of interesting museums to visit. First up we see Ho Chi Minh’s corpse/ mauseleum (which is strangely close in architecture, coffin and body to Lennin’s tomb in Russia) before grabbing a late brunch. Then as a final day thing, we go to a cathedral then split up for SIIIIDE QUESTS! Chris and i split off and head out to the railway tracks where we walk along them for 45 minutes getting photos of the people who live right up against them. Just as we think we will need to double back or be stuck up here… we find a platform and exit. Then we walk thru the old town to meet others for lunch passing street barbers and… although we were stopped from taking photos but Chris managed to get 2 in… roasted dog as food. With that image fresh in our minds and memory cards we go to lunch. Then Jan, Irene and i head to the Hanoi Hilton P.O.W prison (via a brief pit stop for me in an odd 1way glass/mirror urinal)… then back to the hotel for our new meeting.