Bus Ride from Hell with Trekking Travel
Hanoi Travel Blog› entry 10 of 16 › view all entries
I hope everyone gets to experience a bus ride like ours at least once in their life. So up to date, we've had no problems with our open bus tour ticket traveling up the country for only $17 with Hahn Cafe. UNTIL NOW. We booked the last leg of our trip in Hue to Hanoi on an overnight bus, which to date overnight buses hadn't really be an issue. This bus apparently was outsourced to Trekking Travel (aka Piece of Shit) and was a nightmare. They told us to show up at 5:00 which usally means the bus arrives at 5:30. We got there at 5:06 as the bus was getting ready to pull away. The guy at the cafe shoved us on the bus which at the time had only 10 people. Regina and I were thinking "Sweet!" This means we could spread out and relax. Were we ever wrong. We proceeded to stop in literally every small town from here to Hanoi to pick up more and more passengers. To top it all off, this bus had no air conditioning. Which might not sound like a big deal. But it is when you're on a 13 hour bus ride crammed in with 50 other people and the temperature is 95 degrees. We were the only foreigners on the bus, which never happens on these open bus tickets. And it doesn't really help matters at all when the guys behind us asked us how old we were and if we were married. Talk about making the rest of the 13 hour bus ride awkward. The lack of air conditioning was brutal. I opened the window, but the guy behind me kept closing it and I kept opening it. It was a battle of wills. Then at some point during the night, I woke up to some guy sleeping beneath my feet so that I was forced to put my feet over Regina's lap. We arrived crankily into the outskirts of Hanoi, where we started to get off the bus. They said to us and only us, "No. You stay here. Goverment does not allow tour buses in center. We drive you into the center for free on back of motorbike." Which we were savy enough to know by then that there was a catch.We were driven into the center near the lake. By this point it was maybe a little after 6am and there were literally hundreds of people up walking around the lake, jogging, men playing badmington, women doing weird group aerobics moves. I felt like I was watching a Communist exercise video with loudspeakers blaring. And keep in mind this was in the wee early morning. Met up with Belgian girls, Sarah and Eline, William the Brit, and Michael the Aussie and we bargained for a hotel for $5 in the Old Quarter. Went to get massages, left in pain and slightly traumatized by the experience. Ended going to a more upscale fancy massage place to soothe our pain. Took a nap in the brutal heat after eating meat skewers and noodles at a street stall. Woke up to William knocking on our door: "William, from Columbus Travel." He found a place that does tours to Halong Bay for a reasonable price on a nice junk ship that doesn't pack people in like sardines. We tried to recruit some more people for the trip so the price would go down by standing in the streets in the Old Quarter around all the Bia Hoi (local beer) places where foreginers tend to congregate because the beer is so cheap. Only 2,000 dong for a beer (roughly about 15 cents). We ended up watching the first game of the World Cup. Apparently the Vietnamese are crazy for football/soccer and were cheering like madmen for both Germany and Costa Rica. Ended up throwing up around 3am from Bia Hoi. I guess local beer mught not be the best for my stomach.