Vive le Pub!
Hanoi Travel Blog› entry 31 of 55 › view all entries
Apparently 11:30AM is too late for breakfast, so we decide to go elsewhere, and find a nice place on the lake. I quite like the Elizabeth hotel. For $15, you get a decent bed, power shower, and a good location, right on the outskirts of the old quarter. Oh, and the internet is definitely the quickest I have had so far on this trip, so I think lots of blogging will be done here.
The hotel (like everywhere else in Vietnam) also has a travel agency, and we book our train to Sapa from here, for the next evening, leaving at 9:30PM. It costs $50 return, which I am sure is much more than if we booked directly with the train station, but we’re feeling lazy, and go with it. The git booking it for us does mug us off though, quoting us an exchange rate of 16,900 dong to the dollar. This is the highest I have seen, and technically it should be 16,000, but we’re used to people constantly mugging us off in Vietnam now, and just go with it. There’s no point booking a tour though, as I’m sure when we get there, there will be loads of places who do better tours, cheaper. I’m still not sure of the ethics of trekking, it seems like going on a people safari to me, but it brings money into the local economy, and gives jobs to the minority hill-tribe people, who I’m sure get treated quite badly by the Government.
We walk through to the lake, which as local legend has it, is full of tortoises (though where they come from is a bit suspect) and also involves a fable including a local man banishing the Chinese from the area with a sword and a talking tortoise. True story.
After looking round Ngoc Son temple, dedicated to Tran Hung Dao, who fought off the Mongol invaders in the 13th Century (the American war was the last in a long line of battles the Vietnamese have had, mostly with the Chinese, and mostly ending in victory for the Vietnamese!), we have some food on the lake, and wander around the streets, which are full of people in Viet Cong helmets, hawkers and travel agents. It all starts to get a bit wearing after a while, with every 2nd person trying to sell you something. After a while, the no thank you’s turn into NO’s, and then glares.
We find Le Pub in the evening, which is showing the footy, Liverpool vs Arsenal. For all my Canadian friends out there, this is the first place I have found that does Poutine! Yes, Poutine in Vietnam. It’s not the best, but still quite good. I also have Pho for the first time (noodle soup), which is fantastic! After some drinks, there is a lock in at 12 (as the fun police don’t like people having fun past a certain time here!), but the game finishes in a draw, and we stumble home, into a ghost town. Hanoi dies at night!