Hanoi

After a horrendous overnight bus ride, we get into Hanoi. Unlike the last overnight bus, this was packed with noisy locals and an awful smell that came from the frequently used toilet. It was on this particular trip I learn that Vietnamese have no sense of an orderly line. Since I decided to protest the bus's bathroom, I waited patiently for our evening stop. As a few of us started a line, these jokers just but in and stand right in front of you. Suddenly, I'd found my biggest petpeve of Vietnam. Not the sidewalks used for parking/driving, or shoddy (resourceful?) craftsmanship of what's considered a "fix" for any number of problems that tend to rise over time, or even the pushy peddlers. There's something wholly nonsensical about the disregard of a first come/first serve queue. End rant.

We arrive early at our hotel, and plan the next four days of traveling. Hanoi is similar to Saigon, but Trent and I seem to prefer Hanoi as it doesn't have the craziness that embodies Saigon. The foods seems to be better here and the Old Quarter, where we are staying, is built around a lovely lake. However, the people don't seem as friendly and there are more people waiting around to rip tourists off. We have been driven in circles may times and truly dread if we have to take a cab to get somewhere!

Our first night in Hanoi, we find the most amazing Indian place called Tandoor. Trent claims his Chicken Jalfraizi is the best Indian food he's had. We met the owner and Trent was so excited about the place he took a picture with him!

The next day, we went on a one-day tour to Tom Coc. We first stop at Ninh Binh, 100km down the South of Hanoi to see Hoa Lu citadel, the first capital of Vietnam in the 10th century and visit 2 temples of the Dinh Kinh and the Le Kinh dynasty. From the temples, we bike about 5km through the beautiful country-side to a restaurant for lunch.

In the afternoon we take a private row boat trip through the flooded landscape and pass through three long and dark tunneled caves, ducking to clear them. The boat ride would have been much more spectacular if there wasn't so many tourists doing the same thing.

As we have previously mentioned, the diving/traffic is quite crazy here- I mean seriously crazy- like fear for your life crazy! Anyway, on our drive to Tom Coc, we saw the front of a tourist bus completely smashed. Funny enough, on the way back to Hanoi that day, we saw the same bus being driven by 3 guys- one guy driving and two guys sticking their heads out of the windows acting like side mirrors...pretty funny sight! Tomorrow we head off to Halong Bay for a 3-day boat trip.

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