Friday, December 16, 2011

Good Morning Viet Nam!

I don't know if this is normal but in this neighborhood everyone is jarred awake at 7:00 am.  Loud music plays over speakers that hang over the streets and alleyways so communication with the citizens is always possible...I think. My daughter-in-law says they do this in Japan too.  Music, followed by morning announcement greets each day.  Who knew!

We are staying in the Hanoi Gecko Hotel in the heart of the city near Hoan Bien Lake.  Small hotels, hostels surround the area and vendors, restaurant owners live and work on the street.  Everything you have ever seen or heard about this city is true...then multiply it by ten and you are almost there.

Hanoi at night taken from restaurant balcony where we ate.

View from our bedroom window

Hotel Gecko is down this small ally
The core of the city here feels very small.  I don't know if there are other areas like this or not.  Traffic does not adhere to any rules that I can see.  A teaming mass of humanity moves at a snails pace in a small space.  There is no center line and driving on the left or right side of the road is okay.  Everyone just takes the path of least resistance.  Did I mention that I love it!  This make me feel alive.

We arrived in Hanoi last night after dark.  It was a 3 hr 45 min flight directly from Shanghai on Viet Nam Airways.  We learned that if you want to get the best deal on a taxi, you let the driver talk to the hotel owner.  He will negotiate the fee for you, or at least that is what happened for us.

We will shop today and then board a train this evening for an overnight train ride to Sa Pa.  More tomorrow (I hope).


Note:  The internet is free fast and does not appear to be firewalled to the max!

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