Back in Hanoi for New Years!
Hanoi Travel Blog› entry 19 of 26 › view all entries
Very miserable in Ninh Binh...even raining on the day I left :-(...I was sitting in the internet shop on Saturday evening only to see Laura walk pass with her rucksack, just coming in off the bus - happened again! We had dinner, bumping into some others we met on Cat Ba island, a sweedish couple and Dutch guy...had some fresh beer with them on the street! I returned from Ninh Binh on Sunday...travelling on one of the public buses back to Hanoi - I was encircled getting off the bus at the bus station by about 10 Vietnamese motorbike riders offering to take me into town, opted for the cheapest offer only to discover that the guy didn't know where he was going (i initially thought it was another scam etc) but he wanted to see my map in the lonely Planet, didn't even seem to know where the Old Quater was, even though this is where all the tourists go?! After asking other bike drivers at traffic lights and stopping twice, I discovered I was near enough to walk so told him ok paid him 40 000 only for him to ask for anouther 10 000 because it was a longer journey cause he got lost -what a cheek!!! couldn't believe it, just said no and walked off. Found a bit of a dingy hotel and the expensive i've paid yet - $12 cause it had a window in the room! Went for a walk down to the book store and market to try my hand at bartering - i don't think i'm very good at it. I then walked past Ash and Tommy whom i had spent Christmas eve with on the street....they were on their way to east some dog at a restaurant they knew. I tagged along...they had the roasted dog on a tray covered in a cloth, still with its sking on and tail sticking up. 2 women prepared it for us - cutting it in to chunks and providing a dip ....apparently they eat it cold, so that is what me and the Finnish guy did - i hate to admit it but it did taste quite nice - a bit like beef. Felt a bit queasy afterwards, thinking about what i'd just eaten...We then walked to a restaurant and had a proper meat burger. At 7 I walked down to Cinemathque to watch a film...they had Moulin Rouge - probably the least of all musicals i'd want to watch but paid a donation and watched it. Back to the hotel - possibly the noisiest room i've had yet - the traffic (even though a tiny side street) didn't really die down until midnight, and then started up again around 7am.
Monday I decided to change hotels...found a lovely one just beside St Josephs Cathedrale...$20 room for 3 in preparation for the arrival of Amelia and Andy! I then walked down to the Temple of Literature adn walked round the peaceful grounds, reading about the history of the place, trying to dodge the hundreds of tourists there. Then walked back through winding corridors and past food street markets.
Met Amelia and Andy in front of St Josephs Cathedrale as planned...both very cold as apparently Ho Chi Minh is a lot warmer, and in their tiny luggage bags they'd not bought many warm clothes. We walked down to the main part of the Old Quater, looking for somewhere to eat ...found very central building with 4 floors of restaurants next to the lake - so we chose that. Then on to some bars recommended by the Lonely Planet...at around 11.30pm we walked down to the lake to see what we hoped was the music stage and fireworks - but they packed up at quater to midnight and turned all the lights off, so there were just loads of foreigners left waiting...one drunken guy on the shoulders of someone counted down to midnight on his fingers and then from somewhere a token firework was let off- sooo disapointing!! we then made our way to Finnegans the Irish bar for some drinking- lots of drunk people and very smoky.