Hello Hanoi! – March 6

Hello Hanoi, you are noisy. And crowded. So many scooters and cars and bikes and people. So many. How does this even work? The rules of the road? There are none. Everywhere you look – up, down, across, behind – there’s something you didn’t notice before. It’s a lot to take in. A lot.

To get our toes wet, we ventured out with Matt to take it all in. We toured the Hoa Lo Prision, which you may recognize as the Hanoi Hilton.

A majority of the displays focused on the French repression of the Vietnamese – it began as a French built prison during the colonization. There was a small section about the US prisoners, including John McCain’s flight suit. It was interesting. I’ll leave it at that.

The weather was kind of weird in that it was rainy, which isn’t supposed to be the weather in March. Ah well, it won’t be the first time we brought unseasonable weather with us. I’m sure it won’t be the last either. So at D’Lynn’s suggestion we hopped an extra-large golf cart for a tour of the area. It’s a completely different experience to be in a vehicle in this traffic. Eeek!

We had our first Pho  at lunch and oh was it delicious. Such a simple dish and man was it good. The place we at was packed and you ate and you got the heck out. No dawdling. 

We visited Ngoc Son Temple, reached by a lovely red bridge across Hoan Kiem Lake. It was delightful. And there was a kitty. And huge pots of orchids.

Also on the agenda, the Temple of Literature. It was quite a complex with a lot to take in, including turtle statues supporting tablets with the names of those who passed their exams in antiquity. (I probably did not get that 100% right – but turtles & tablets…that is accurate.)

Touring done, the gents headed for a beer and a nap – or that was the plan – while D’Lynn and I did some shopping. What happened was they were having beer and we met up with them after shopping. To get there we walked along these active train tracks. People live and have shops in the buildings lining the tracks. For reference, in the US, the typical 50′ width is the most common railroad right of way width (25′ either side of centerline of said track). 

After some downtime we headed out to dinner. It was a bit chillier than we’d anticipated so we had on long pants. So, sitting on the floor is one thing. Sitting on the floor in long pants and when you are not used to such seating position is really kind of awkward. There was lots of moving and creaking from Chad and I. The food was totally worth it, though! My favorite was probably the grilled eggplant. Oh my god was it delicious. 

And because no first evening is really done in Hanoi until you’ve been subject to Bia (Beer) Hai street and the insane crowds (and this is on a Monday, mind you) complete with people trying to ride their scooters, we had a beer. 

Don’t go away! I’m not done yet! There’s so much more to show you! Click on the little pics to get full size pics with captions and everything! Yes, captions. So you know what the heck you’re looking at! 

chris on March 6th 2017 in Travel

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