Hanoi Travel Blog› entry 2 of 13 › view all entries
January 1st, 2006 – by: breezejen
My first impression of Hanoi was, "wow, the traffic here is insane!" Not only is there no sense of traffic laws, but cars, bikes, scooters and people share the road in complete chaos. Stop signs and lanes are just mere suggestions and personal choice if they are used or not. Also, the traffic noise is overwhelming because people continuously use their horns. Instead of using your horn to point out other driver's mistakes, horns here are used more to alert others of, "here I come, " or "i'm about to hit you, so be careful," and "if i do hit you, it's your fault becasue I honked first.
Fortunately we have a driver to take us wherever we want to go. Not only does he know all the places and the fastest way to get there, but he also gets to deal with the headache of getting around.
We started off at the Temple of Literature. This is dedicated to Confucious in order to honor scholars and men of literary accomplishment. It's very peaceful place amidst the chaos outside the walls. It's very quiet and serene.
Next we visited Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum. This is where his body is preserved. We walked around and visited the president's palace. You can really see the Soviet influence here. There are red banners with communist sayings on them.
Our last stops were at Tran Quoc Pagoda which is a pagoda on the Red River and Ngoc Son Temple which is dedicated to Tran Hung Dau who defeated the Mongol's in the 13th century and La To, the patron saint of physicians.
All the sight seeing and walking worked up our appetites and we treated ourselves to dinner at the night street market. Walking around in the night market is an experience in itself. Not only are there hundreds of food vendors but everything looks and smells fantastic that's it really difficult to pick. We finally chose a place with a hot pot dinner. This place had tiny plastic chairs and tiny table to sit in. A vat of boiling water was brought to our table with a mini stove underneath it. Then a plate of meat and various vegetables were given to us. The idea is to put everything in the pot and eat it as it becomes cooked. Our server was a little boy who make sure we had enough vegetables, drinks, etc. He was pretty adorable. Dinner was surprisingly tasty and we were all satisfied with our meal. We had a fantastic dinner with a great busy vibe for super cheap. The best part was soaking in the atmosphere and watching people. This was a special treat for us as there is nothing quite like this at home, but for them this was part of their normal, everyday lives.
Our first day in Vietnam was awesome. It was busy and all of our senses were alerted. We had a great time and looking forward to our adventures.
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