Today we are writing from hectic Hanoi. Its pretty darn crazy in this city due to the fact that there are gizillions of motorcycles everywhere and because everyone toots their horn whenever they are close to someone else. The situation is made even worse by the fact that the footpath is not for people, its for parking motorbikes, for streetstalls and pretty much anything other than walking!
Words cannot express the craziness of the traffic here, in fact – even photos wont do the job! For example, within our first 10 mins of Hanoi we spotted:
- man riding motorcycle with dead pig hanging off the back (trotters hitting the ground)
- man riding motorcycle with broken leg (in plaster) holding on to his crutches
- woman riding mortorcycle with stilettos and short skirt
- a family of 2 adults, 2 kids on one bike
To cross the road in Hanoi you just walk in front of the traffic very slowly and the traffic will simply navigate around you – a suidicidal move in New Zealand but it actually works here!
Yesterday was really stressful as I (Julia) was half blind due to an eye infection (so no contacts) and broken glasses left in Bangkok. This meant I had to wander around Hanoi the in craziness not seeing much at all. Not good when gizillions of bikes are coming at you in a noisy beeping blur! But no worries, I discovered that Vietnam is the land of cheap glasses! Problem solved for $80USD which got me 2 pairs of new glasses and 1 pair of prescription sunglasses. Score!
So… a quick summary of what we have been doing in Hanoi:
- Walked and shopped till we dropped (literally, we were exhausted)
- Had a relaxing lunch by the lake Hoan Kiem (where the lucky giant tortoise makes an appearance every few years)
- Wandered over the Huc Bridge to the Ngoc Son (Jade Mountain) temple
- Went to a cute Water Puppet show for a bit of Vietnamese culture
- Ate dinner in a nice resturant with cyclo-bike seats
- Bought a ‘real’ lonely planet which was actually a photocopy (thank godness I got the price down from $20USD!)
What else…. Well we got scammed by a woman selling bananas who convinced us to take photos of each other pretending to sell bananas wearing a silly hat and then promptly charged the equvielent of $8 NZD (non negotiable as the photo had already been taken). We are never falling for that one again!!!
We nearly got scammed by the man on a motorbike who would have taken us halfway around the city to travel 20 meters down the road to the restaurant we wanted to go to BUT we are getting wiser now (thanks to Banana woman) so we didnt fall for it! Yippee!
So thats pretty much been Hanoi, we are thinking of coming back for a day after 3 days of crusing around Halong Bay in a junk boat. So this will be it from us for a few days (as we will be too busy working on our tans to bother with technology). Take care, keep smiling… we miss you all lots! J & M