Visiting "Uncle Ho"
I wasn't sure what exactly I was expecting but I sure was surprised. My first impression of Vietnam was Hanoi. This was my first time in the midst of crazy Asian style traffic. Any visitor must be told be for they go there are a few rules to crossing the street: 1 Look for an opening 2 Walk slow and steady 3 Never stop 4 Never run 5 Never go back it confuses them 6 Cars and motor scooters WILL go around you. They don't want to hit you as much as you don't want to be hit! After the initial shock I was surprised how much the controlled chaos made sense. Everything flowed. No stop and go. Cabs are safe and cheap for the most part. If you get one with a speedy screwed up meter ( only happened once to me) just have them pullover and try again. But honestly, it's a matter of 2 dollars compared to a buck fifty.
Food is beyond cheap. Nice 5 star hotels rooftop restaurant entrees are around 6 dollars or so. Yes , they eat dog just avoid anything called "thit cho". A loving dog owner myself, I had to wrap my head around it and this is what I came up with: I love pigs, cutest things ever can't pass up holding a baby pig but at the same time I can't pass up bacon either. I try not to judge too much. But it made me sad. Halong Bay is beautiful. I could of done without seeing the boat next to us empty its waste into the water. I loved the motor scooter tour in Hue. School children on the side of the road crying out "Hello, I love you!" as they see western faces. Big post war baby boom. Most of the population is under 30. Sad reminders of the war were some birth defects in locals my age. I expected some animosity when my Americaness came out but it wasn't the case. Took the best eco tour in Hoi An
! The company was very professional and it was a great evening. We went out in bucket boats (like on amazing race) and went to a luxury big boat that met up with local fisherman and we got a chance to try it. We also took a bucket boat tour of the coconut plant grove where the VC hid in the war. We also used the big crank net on the beach and practiced throwing nets. The hilight was our wonderfully prepared sunset dinner on the boat. So if you can aviod the tailor shops in Hoi An for an evening it's way worth it.