I arrived to Ha Noi a day later than I'd planned after the frustrations in Kuala Lumpur with my visa.I only stayed one night because I immediately booked a Ha Long Bay tour for three days and two nights. Before I left I had a great meal accidentally. It was my first in Viet Nam, on a street corner, served by three old women who asked me questions in Vietnamese and I just nodded to all of them. I think it was Bun Cha and it because my favorite dish there.
I was last to be picked up for the tour and sat in the back with the two other Americans, Cham and Scot. It was, what proved to be, a good combo of couple and singles. I got on especially well with Liliana from Argentina, aka Tango, Elin from Iceland, aka Sharky, Cham from Philly, aka Rooms, and Daniel form Germany. Scot was tolerable and the two Irish couples were a good laugh.
|A boat nearly identical to ours, through the pouring rain.|
|Cham keeping a watchful eye for squid. We decided it was just a ploy to keep up busy since the hooks weren't even baited.|
|View from the top of the mountain at Cat Ba|
|Neil, Nikki and Scot|
We had a great third day on the boat back to Halong city for lunch and then into Ha Noi. We arranged a meet up and I'd see all of the aforementioned folks before leaving Ha Noi. Dinner and drinks that same night with Neil, Nikki and Scot were a riot.
|This is one side of beer corner. The woman in the middle was there "working" every night though I never saw her leave with anyone. Most of the bar was treated to views of her panties and her glares.|
Other sights from Ha Noi were the Hanoi Hilton, a prisoner of war detention center which is one story, still surrounded by barbed wire and immediately next to a fifty-story five-star hotel.
A last note on Ha Noi. I stumbled on a bargain of a hostel. May de Ville. They have a hostel and a hotel. It was only open two weeks when I was there. Brand new, built to be a hotel and then changed to a hostel. $6 for 6 bed dorms that were never full. New beds, fantastic if tiny showers and full breakfast included. Not tea and toast but eggs and omelets to order, bacon, sausage, fruit, fried noodles and rice, breads, juice, coffee, tea, the works. Todd, the gm, is Canadian and goes out of his way to help, as do all the front desk staff. Their prices might jump as they get more popular but get there before the secret's out.