AsiaVietnamHanoi

Happy Birthday Rachel!!

Hanoi Travel Blog

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Going out with guys from the Halong Bay trip

So, our last few days in Hanoi.


I wasnt feeling too well so I stayed in while Rachel and Sarah went to do some souvenier shopping. They came back with bags of goodies and were very pleased with their bargaining skills, even if Rachel did mange to barter UP on a T-shirt! Once the heat of the day had mellowed towards something more bearable and I was feeling a bit better we met up with some of the people we had met on the Halong bay trip for a few drinks.

Old lady picking flowers by the lake
We then went to a nearby cafe for dinner, causing the waitresses some confusion with the orders as there was so many of us.


After dinner we headed to a bar, but on the way stopped off for a few cheap drinks at a place some of the guys knew. The place was packed with people so we got handed some plastic seats and shepherded down to the corner of the street where we all sat in a circle and drank the cheap (it was cheap for reason!) beer. It was fun just sitting and sharing experiances of travelling in Asia, it is so different from the Western world and can be a bit daunting sometimes so its nice when you find other people have similar thoughts. I still wasnt back up to full speed and didnt think I could manage a night out on the tiles so we left the group to go on to the bar and headed back to the hostel.

Roses for the birthday girl


The next day was Rachel's birthday so I got up early and headed down to the flower market. I had seen a nice bunch of dark red roses that I wanted to get and surprise her with when she woke up. I bought the flowers with no problem but managed to slip on the wet floor and almost ended up flattening them within two seconds of buying them! I just about saved myself, thought not my dignity as there were plenty of Vietnamese people having a good ol' gander at the silly white girl on the floor. I picked myself up and took myself off fairly quickly! Back at the hostel I got a few of the staff commenting on the flowers so took the opportunity to ask them for a vase (I hadnt really thought how I was going to keep them!). There was no vase but a jug was found so I plonked them in and took the flowers upstairs to Rachel.

Doodles on the table
She was still asleep so I set them down on the floor by her bed and settled down to wait. After an hour I got a bit bored so woke Rachel up (it was gone 9am, I was allowed to!) and gave her her present.


We spent the day finishing our souvenier shopping, bartering on a couple of bags for Sarah and some chopsticks for us. For dinner we went to a restaurant that Rachel had found, a nice Tex Mex place called Al Fresco's. We all chose to have fajitas, veggie for me, chicken for Rachel and beef for Sarah. While our food was being prepared we took advantage of the paper table cloth and crayons that were on the table (no doubt for kids but hey we're big kids at heart) to doodle. The fajitas were great, so we decided to share a dessert of cheesecake. Unfortunatley the cheesecake was rubbish, I refused to eat more than a mouthful so Sarah and Rachel had to finish it hehe.

Filling in the comment cards
We were given comment cards to fill out at the end of the meal, it asked us for a bit of info about ourselves, date of birth etc and to rate the restaurant. We gave the place great marks except for the cheesecake, commenting that it should be scrapped or improved. As we handed them back we asked for the bill, hoping they wouldnt read the comments until after we had gone. Turns out they did read them as instead of coming back with the bill, they came out with a chocolate brownie with a candle on, and everyone in the restaurant sang happy birthday to Rachel (she blushed). The brownie was much better than the cheesecake had been, so all is forgiven in the dessert department. We tried to pay for the bill by card, we had asked at the beginning of the meal if it was ok as none of us had enough cash to cover the bill and we were told that this would be fine.
Happy birthday Rachel!
It would have been except their credit card machine decided to go on the fritz! I had to leave Rachel and Sarah at the restaurant as a security deposit and go hunting for a cash machine so I could withdraw some cash, not the smoothest way to end a birthday treat but heyho!


The next day we had to take Sarah to the airport. She had to catch a connection in Bangkok so we made sure we got to the airport in plenty of time. It was sad to see her go, we had fun travelling with another person, and I personally enjoyed beating her at Slam! haha. We later found out she only just made her connection, literally making it with 5 mins to spare due to a very long immigration debacle.


Our last couple of days in Hanoi were spent relaxing, not doing much except enjoying the vibe of the place, which we both really liked. We want to travel Vietnam completely at a later date, hopefully travelling through Laos and Cambodia as well as we have heard lots of good reviews from other travellers. On Monday we got a minibus back to the airport as it was much cheaper than getting a taxi. We realised why it was so cheap when we arrived to find ourselves being shepherded onto an already full bus, Rachel had to sit on a stool rather than an actual seat, and we had two others forced onto the bus after us! It made for a rather uncomfortable, sweaty journey, being pressed against the people all around us. It was cheap, but it wasnt that cheerful! We had to get a flight to Bangkok, then change to get another to Chiang Mai. We booked through Air Asia, as they had cheaper flights than most. At checking in we asked if we could get a window seat (Rachel feels icky if she sits in an aisle seat) and were told that it was 'free seating'. huh?? Free seating is basically fight for your seat. No pre booked seats, get to a seat and claim it! Oh dear. We actually managed to get fairly decent seats as it wasnt a full flight, and Rachel got a window seat on both planes so hurrah for us, next stop Chiang Mai and elephants!



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Going out with guys from the Halon…
Going out with guys from the Halo…
Old lady picking flowers by the la…
Old lady picking flowers by the l…
Roses for the birthday girl
Roses for the birthday girl
Doodles on the table
Doodles on the table
Filling in the comment cards
Filling in the comment cards
Happy birthday Rachel!
Happy birthday Rachel!
Hanoi
photo by: mario26