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Vietnam - Hanoi

Good Morning...

overcast 28 °C

We arrived in Hanoi and avoided the unofficial taxi/minibus hawkers outside and headed for the offical minibus into the centre of the old town. The traffic got busier and busier as we got closer to the centre, with the number of mopeds and motorbikes dominating the roads. As the minibus doors opened, another hawker said "welcome to your hotel". We had all read up on the city in advance and knew to avoid all of these hawkers and set out to find a hostel that was recommended in Lonely Planet. The streets were packed with locals and tourist pedestrians trying to manouvre through the dense flows of traffic. Motorbike taxis and pedal tricycle drivers consistently communicated their availability as we walked. There were no pedestrian crossings, you simply have to walk slowly into the buzzing traffic and let the mopeds steer around you. We walked past street food vendors and stalls with sizzling and smoking foods being cooked and sold and large outdoor bars packed with locals socialising. We found our way to a slightly quieter street where our hostel was located. Having checked in we made our way out to see what Saturday night in Hanoi was made of. Having enjoyed an Indian curry we then made our way through the old town streets. What a fascinating city Hanoi is! The traffic is completely uncontrolled and you have to be slightly crazy to cross the road, each time we reached the other side of the street we felt elated to still be alive. We walked down to the North of Hoan Kiem Lake and walked around its shore road. We past a busy road of shops and takeways with recognised global brands before making our way down side streets lined with art galleries and craft shops. Having had a walk around the old town streets and seen so much happening we made our way to a European bar near to the hostel and relaxed with a beer. The bar was showing Premier League Football, so Chris enjoyed a few beers with the locals whilst watching United. The next day we made our way to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex. Unfortunately we arrived at just after 11am and were informed that the area containing Ho Chi Minh's embalmed corpse is only open between 8am and 11am. We wandered around the museum instead and saw photographs and exhibits celebrating Ho Chi Minh's life. We walked back into the city and headed to a food street in the old town and sampled some local Vietnamese specialities, before walking through the old town shopping streets, which were again packed with people and traffic. In the evening we went to a nearby Vietnamese restaurant in a historic house and enjoyed the food and atmosphere. Thankfully we missed the food street in the old town that specialises in Dog! Hanoi was a fascinating city to experience for a couple of days, however it would take years off our lives to live in such a manic place!

Posted by NicChris 04:09 Archived in Vietnam

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