|Temple at Hoan Kiem Lake|
Getting from the airport: We took a public bus which took about 45 minutes- 1 hour. However it will wait at the airport until it is full which took another 45 minutes. The bus costs just $2 so its well worth the $14 save over taking a taxi.
First impressions of Hanoi-It’s chaos, sheer utter traffic chaos! Traffic stops for nothing here, motorbikes swerve around one another and you are expected to do the same as a pedestrian. The best way to cross the road we soon realized was slow and steady, everything will move around you. There were numerous foreigners just stuck waiting to cross taking a step off the curve then getting the fear of god struck into them by a motorbike just skimming there knee caps and jumping back to the safety of the pavement. Alas!
We stayed in the old town of Hanoi which is a fast paced, traditional snippet of Vietnamese life. There were people everywhere in the traditional ‘Non-la’ hats (cone hat if you like) carrying all kinds of edible delights on a stick and what I can only describe as wooden scales device. We wondered if they hadn’t found a more suitable attire and carrying device by know or if they just like to stick to what they know or perhaps it increases sales-the novelty factor?!
|Best sales technique!|
To say Hanoi is bustling is an understatement and the best time to enjoy it is early morning as the markets open up and the street vendors set up shop. Its also a good time to venture down to Hoan Kiem lake for some exercise or just entertainment watching the various forms of ‘exercise’ taking place. We found the Vietnamese people to be quite hostile and unfriendly towards us for the most part which was a great shame as its usually the people that make the place for us. Perhaps this hostility is due in part to the struggle of war that is a not too distant memory for many people here or maybe we are just mistaking cultural differences for something they are not. A Korean friend of mine once told me people in Korea won't always return a smile as they might think you are in fact laughing at them, bizarre.
|Vietnamese coffee, its a game of patience, something I am not so good at, clearly!|
|Exercise at the lake|
We stayed in Hanoi for 2 days then left for the nearby city of Ninh Binh.