Vietnam has been on my wish list for many, many years, all Australians who have been exude a passion for the place, and Vietnam’s often brutal history, resulting in such a smiling, friendly place has always been something I wanted to experience first hand, and ok, following on from the piglet theme of the last post, I have heard the food is rather delicious…!
We landed on an odd evening and I strongly suspect the driver would have prefered to be at the lunar new year’s eve fireworks. He made up for it by talking to his girlfriend on the mobile all the way to the hotel, ok as no traffic…everyone’s warnings don’t apply when Hanoi shuts up and goes home for a few days.
Since we’ve returned from Ha Long bay we’ve realised it can be a tad on the crazy side, and we’re comparing that to the everlasting fun and video games of driving through India dodging holy cows…am loving the scooters everywhere and the vast choice of head attire…
Hanoi is a walkable (just keep off the earphones…you need to hear the next moped about to cut you up post TET!!!) friendly, chilled spot, and the old quarter is full of character, and houses that make David Street look like a mac mansion…
And everyone is pretty friendly, maybe my surreptitious temple photo experience sums it up; I was tapped on the shoulder when trying to be respectful and taking a few shots through a side window, of some rather cheerful golden buddha/scholar statues, and was convinced I was about to be told off, instead I turned to a huge smiley face, who launched straight into a spiel about the latest results in the Australian open when I mentioned Melbourne, and finished with a hearty pat on the back to wish me a happy new year…gold indeed.
We’ve found a gem of a small hotel, named auspiciously Ruby, and whilst tiny, for $45 we are in the centre of the old district of Hanoi, in a quiet room, all mod-cons, flower petals and pebbles everywhere, spotlessly clean, fantastic pho and anything else you might want breakfast, and seriously the friendliest hotel team I’ve ever come across, we came back tonight and were met with 9 smiles, this place only has about 20 rooms, quite extraordinary, am loving tripadvisor, this time it was spot on, I bothered to book ahead; this is number 1 of the non major hotel options…and Hanoi has a fair few hundred places to stay…
Likelihood of 8/13 Aussies on one boat probably fair, 6 of them having lived within a 1km radius highly unlikely, genius on behalf of the tour company, leading to a soberly hysterical bus ride to the boat (the lovely American/Latvian couple from Shanghai were bemused methinks!), followed by a drunkenly red wine driven, hysterical evening boat session, we all just about made the 7am breakfast…there will be a boat to Williamstown, chicken roll on Victoria St, statue shop in the Western suburbs reunion coming to us all sometime mid 2012…clear the streets!!!
And so to a misty, mysterious, rather haunting Ha Long bay, on the dragon’s pearl…yes it was as freezing as it looks:
Highlights, aside from the awesome Aussies and the possum hat (you just had to be there), included haunted misty views from the boat, a few random veggie sculptures and kayaking around a fairly deserted bay:
I’ll finish with a few favourite shots, I’ve really enjoyed taking photos in Hanoi, and given we haven’t seen the sun since arrival, I’ve been a bit ‘light challenged’, so it’s made me think, use a few different settings, and work around the lack of blue sky or sunbeams.