Wednesday, October 5, 2011

So far so good

After 24 LONG hours of travel, we arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam last night. I was thrilled to discover our hotel was a 5-star place, so the comfy bed was appreciated. When I realized we had free WiFi, I new I could blog at least tonight.

Jumped right into touring this morning, starting with a rick shaw tour around the town. It was drizzling, so I was neatly tucked inside plastic.

Then we took a bus to Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and home. He was "on vacation" to Russia for 3 months (they do annual upkeep on his body) so we couldn't see him. The guide gave us an hour discussion (propaganda?) of what a great person he was as we toured the grounds.

Visited a pagoda, temple and ancient college. It is an incredible city, so much history combined with years of war. Drove by the "Hanoi Hilton", hard to believe the war wasn't that long ago. My favorite part was walking in the old town, looking at the shops and the way people live.

I was using my nice camera for photos, and it wasn't until later in the day that I remembered to use my IPhone for a few pics for the blog. Hope to have better pics in future posts ( but then I might not have WiFi!).

The craziest part of the city is the loud, wild traffic, the streets are filled with scooters and motorbikes. When you want to cross the streets, our guide told us to walk slow and steady, and not to run, so the motor bikes will swerve around you.

We were on our own for lunch and dinner. For lunch we decided to shop instead. I bought a purse (embroidered by craftspeople in the countryside). They were asking $30 for the purse, I paid $25 - but I think I may have overpaid for this!

And for those of you who love Lantern Moon items, look what I found - a couple of items identical to what they sell. The turtle tape measure was available in several colors, but I got my favorite color, pink.

They also had bracelets like I got at the Lantern Moon booth at TNNA a few years ago. Now I have earrings to match!

I couldn't get them to drop the price for the turtle and earrings, so I paid the full price of $9.

We ended the day by going out to dinner. I am not a super fussy eater, but after walking the streets with the open food markets, I couldn't bring myself to eat any meat! TanMan has a cast iron stomach and loves all kind of foods, so he showed no restraint. His main course was a favorite of his - foie gras. Honestly, that was enough to ruin what little appetite I had left.

Tomorrow we leave for the day and overnight on a junk on Halong Bay.

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