Back in Hanoi

Hanoi Travel Blog

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Stephanie and our our favourite beer in Hanoi (Halida Beer).

Back in Hanoi we checked into the Golden Buffalo hotel, another place that has mutiple imposters throughout Hanoi so any recommendation is difficult. Our one is on Ngo Huyen and it's fine apart from the St Joseph's Cathedral nearby, which for some bizarre reason rings its bells at 3.15 every morning! I suppose that comes under the "no rest for the wicked" category. We headed to the City View Bar and Restaurant which is right by the lake and about six storeys up for some great evening views of the city and the crazy traffic. We ate at a veggie restaurant called the Tamarind Cafe which, whilst nice, was totally overpriced and not as good as the much cheaper Kangaroo Cafe. The plan after dinner was simple, shopping.

Bridge over Hoan Kiem Lake
We had our eye on some bamboo and lacquer bowls and after scouring several shops and getting preliminary prices we found our target. The starting price was USD$72. After some lengthy negotiations and a couple of "walk-aways" we managed to get the best part of a 75% discount and got four bowls, four plates and four serving bowls for VND300,000. That's the thing here, you go to the cashpoint and any withdrawel is in the millions in local currency. It really strains the old wallet. Carrying around 8,000,000 currency makes you feel a bit like Roman Abramovich must do. Tired by our efforts we decided to wait to make further purchases and headed home.

Next day we had the obligatory visit to Uncle Ho's mausoleum on the agenda. Ho Chi Minh is still revered here and his image is everywhere and rightly so.

Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum
Whatever your political persuasion or opinion the fact that the vietnamese were able to so totally humiliate the might of the US army is an impressive achievement. Just getting to the mausoleum is itself quite a feat. We were whistled at twice by guards and sent on a long diversion just to get to the place. After enduring an x-ray of our bags and surrendering our cameras we were allowed to join the lengthy queue of mostly locals but significant numbers of tourists also. Adam was singled out as a trouble maker and suspicious character and was searched twice on the procession into the tomb and in the process got Steph searched too. Seeing Ho's corpse lying there was a bit weird; the waxy appearance of the body bathed in a red light on a black silk bed is surreal, especially considering that his alleged last wish was for anything other than this sort of treatment.
Adam and a tank outside the Military Museum

Our next stop was the military museum which is a bit chaotically set out. It's very hard to tell where you are supposed to go and the timeline is broken and incomplete; especially when the museum closes at 11.30am and we were kicked out before we'd finished!! Oh well we've seen so much of this stuff before but the photo's on display were cool. We decided to wait for the museum to open and had a wicked Vietnamese coffee which was unbelievably strong and literally made us shake as the caffeine hit worked through us.

High on caffeine we found a Buddhist veggie restaurant in a sleepy little back alley for lunch which served amazing food. We had a set menu which gave us the option to try about six dishes all for 30,000 Dong (less than one pound sterling).

Adam enjoying his Vietnamese coffee with sweet milk (Ca phe sua nuang).
Our intentions to return to the museum were undone by our full bellies and we decided to get on with the important business of shopping. We both needed new reading matter, so we found a second hand bookshop to arm ourselves for the upcoming stint on the beach.

A propoganda poster was next on the list for souveniers and with slogans such as 'Nixon must die', 'Repel the American invaders" and 'The women of the South have guts' it is easy to see the attraction. Purchase made, we searched for cloth lanterns which we see working nicely on our future deck. We managed to barter down to half million for four huge lanterns and headed off with all our goodies to the post office.

The postal service involves lots of form filling but they pack everything for you and the stern but efficient woman in charge oversees everything. We posted a 10.5kg package for just 550,000 Dong. Fingers crossed it arrives intact.

We couldn't resist a return to the Kangaroo Cafe for a second helping of their great food then headed back to the hotel for a read and a rest from our exertions.


Virginiagoodings says:
PS David just noticed people congratulating you on your travel writer award...have we missed something?
Mum xxoo
Posted on: Dec 22, 2007
Virginiagoodings says:

Have made one nut roast (a bit dry) and am trying another one today in preparation for Tuesday...miss you both! Love
Mum/Virginia xxoo
Posted on: Dec 21, 2007
barrieandann says:
Glad to hear from you and see some photos.

Love Mum and Dad xx
Posted on: Dec 21, 2007
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Stephanie and our our favourite be…
Stephanie and our our favourite b…
Bridge over Hoan Kiem Lake
Bridge over Hoan Kiem Lake
Ho Chi Minhs mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum
Adam and a tank outside the Milita…
Adam and a tank outside the Milit…
Adam enjoying his Vietnamese coffe…
Adam enjoying his Vietnamese coff…
Adam at Hoan Kiem Lake
Adam at Hoan Kiem Lake
photo by: mario26