Hanoi-ing Hotel Manager
Hanoi Travel Blog› entry 82 of 117 › view all entries
The dreaded overnight bus to Hanoi wasn't anywhere near as uncomfortable as I imagined it would be. I actually managed to sleep for a large chunk of it. On the DMZ tour we ate twice, believe it or not, at that rubbish restaurant called Me Kong - the food's standard was only worsened by the pitiful portion size that even the Borrowers would have found insulting. So we found it hilarious when we pulled up there on the way up to Hanoi for a third time within the last 23 hours. Luckily, we had eaten already, otherwise the joke would have completely backfired.
Despite getting some sleep, we still had to deal with the chaos that is Hanoi at God-knows-what time in the morning.
One thing that boggles the mind in Vietnam is the seemingly non-existant copyright laws. Sinh Cafe, for example, one of the original tour operators in Vietnam, now has many imposter companies trading under the same name, acting as the original so that unsuspecting tourists use them instead of the original.
I found a company that did some good trekking into Sapa and told them I would book up later once I had checked funds. When I arrived at my hostel, Michael - he certainly didn't look like a Michael - the hotel manager, who, let's just say, I didn't get on with, explicitly questioned why I would book with someone else when his was cheaper and he had told me about his first. I told him that I didn't like booking through hotels cos they were after commision without caring for quality, but he was having none of it.
The usual suspects met up that night to see a show at the Water Puppet Theatre. Not understanding a word of Vietnamese, I didn't have a clue what was going on, but the show was still an interesting spectacle. Then, still with a tiny bit of room in our stomachs even after eating a wonderful Indian meal earlier on, what better way to plug the gap than with a refreshing Fanny ice cream? Yum.
Michael again tried to stir the ashes of our previous argument the next morning, so I just resorted to non-sensical replies (to him, anyway) to his constant, "I don't understand"-type comments; saying things like, "I can't understand it, either," or "Horses for courses" or "Never mind. Plenty more fish in the sea. Dry your eyes." I was relieved to check out of my hostel the following day and have a proper explore of Hanoi. Starting off at Hoan Kiem Lake, I crossed Huc Bridge to get to Ngoc Son Temple, before joining the other tourists who were queing up to photograph the Martyr's Monument. Heading into the more chaotic part of town, the Old Quarter, I took a walk through the market, where I bought some spring rolls that made the ones I had previously ordered in restaurants seem disgraceful, especially at about 2p each.