I am a millionaire in “Interesting” Hanoi

Hanoi Travel Blog

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Rice paddies outside of Hanoi.

The final road out of China was a bit disappointing.  Our final day in Hong Kong was pretty much rained out.  We took a trolley to the top of the mountain where we were disappointed by the fog which allowed us to see only about 20ft and blocked the view of the city that was just below us.  We took a 90 minute train ride to cross back into the China and the city of Guangzhou.  After getting off the train we took a taxi in which the driver didn’t speak a word of English and I sat in the front seat using both of my arms to form an airplane so the driver could understand that we needed the airport.   He continued to talk to me in Chinese, but we eventually made it to the airport.  At the airport about 3hours and 30 minutes early we soon found out that our flight would be taking off 2 hours late making another long boring wait.

After our 1am arrival in Hanoi we slept in a little before seeing the city and after a short walk around Ana said ‘Well, Hanoi is interesting”. Motor bikes are EVERYWHERE and are not best at following the signs.  Here is probably the worst obedience of traffic signals that I have ever seen.  Crossing the street for pedestrians becomes a work of art that requires care and precision.  On the other hand things are really cheap here.  After arriving at the airport I withdrew 4 Million Vietnamese Dong which at an exchange rate of 17,500:1 comes to about $228.  On our first day somebody asked 10,000 VND for small Vietnamese flag patch to which Ana felt was the beginning of a negotiation.  After realizing that this was 60 cents, she decided that negotiating may not be worth the effort.  Dinner and lunch are normally under 200,000 VND ($12) for both of us and every hotel we stay in should be less than $25 a night.  Our $70 a day budget/person should be sufficient to live a wealthy lifestyle and take some local flights. The hotel that we are staying at in Hanoi only cost $22.  When we arrived the first night at 1am the two 'managers' were sleeping on the floor in the lobby underneath sheets.  One of them woke up to check us in and as Ana started walking up the stairs a mouse quickly ran across the floor.  Luckily she didn't see it (and didn't find out about it until reading this blog entry) or else we would have probably needed to leave the hotel immediately.

The unfortunate part is that it is even hotter here than in China and we have been told that it will only get hotter as we go further South.  We have gone through 2 or 3 shirts some days, but we are starting to just put up with the sweat and make it through the day with the same shirt.  Luckily we had a 3 day break to Halong Bay (about 70 miles East of Hanoi) which was a lot more relaxing than touring around Hanoi and avoiding scooters.  The next week could be strenuous as we travel to a new city every day until we reach Cambodia.  Hopefully we will find some time to rest along the way.

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Rice paddies outside of Hanoi.
Rice paddies outside of Hanoi.
photo by: mario26