Home > Vietnam > Hanoi – cold and misty – brrrrrr

Hanoi – cold and misty – brrrrrr

February 18, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

First impressions are of a quieter, smaller, more intimate and colder city compared to Saigon. Probably due to the fact that we arrived at 5.00am from the overnight train, the streets were deserted and our 24 hour(!) hotel was padlocked shut. After wandering around for an hour, we found a hotel that let us sit in their lobby until a cafe opened, where we sat watching Hanoi wake up over hot sweet coffee.



they need all the practice they can get

Once it was awake, it was the usual Asian cacophony, but with it’s own character. The streets are much more about selling and making things, literally on the streets, people are carving wood, warming themselves on fires, repairing bikes, making rubber stamps – all manner of things going on. It is also more compact and intense, with colour and noise coming at you from all sides.

Before long, we had a plan and were out and about checking out the highlights, of which the one standout experience was the fabulous enthnographic museum. A collection of vernacular buildings from all over Vietnam, complete with bamboo swings, water puppets and all manner of interesting costumes and people.

the picture on the left is embroidered!

the girls are nearly as thin as the buildings

the various sides to communism

Uncle Ho's Mausoleum

We also attempted to see Uncle Ho’s mausoleum – no chance. On the weekend they bus thousands of Vietnamese in to queue up to see the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh. I suspect that if Ho could see what was going on, he may be turning in his mausoleum. (For a start he specifically requested no mausoleum and whilst alive went to great pains to keep things honest and simple). After numerous waving arms and no entry signs we gave up and tried to find the botanical gardens. No mean feat with all the barriers, but eventually we did get there to be greeted by the sight of dozens of brides having their photo’s taken. Yet that was not as strange as seeing them getting dressed behind trees, wearing jeans and flip flops under the dresses, and sitting down at the outside hawker stalls eating noodles.

I'm getting married - do I look like I give a s*!t?

Noodle soup and dresses do go together

About a week later we found out that the pictures are taken 2 weeks before the actual wedding so that the photo’s are ready for the wedding to give out to guests. The dresses in the park were all hired out explaining all the slightly strange behaviour.

Whilst out and about, we also found a few things out about “Tourist School”. As they take tourists so seriously, they have a college where they teach the locals etiquette regarding all things tourist. What we were amazed to hear, was how long one has to go to tourist school to get even basic qualifications. It takes 3 years to learn to be a receptionist (I thought it took 5 minutes!), it takes a further 2 years to “learn” to be a waitress – 2 years!!! And best of all, it takes 2 years at tourist school to be a housekeeper. MAD!!

another communist speciality - children's playgrounds. This one came complete with raw concrete slides and gallows. Kids these days don't know how lucky they are.

In the last post, I forgot to mention that in Hue, our hotel lady took a liking to Kai and decided to take him out to try out some local delicacies. He came back an hour later clutching a handful of banana wraps, containing slimy raw fish. After managing a couple, he had the bright idea to tell her that he should take the rest back because “Grannie would love to try some!” Good thinking. Not sure he will be wandering off with strange women again in a hurry.

Categories: Vietnam Tags: , , ,
  1. Jozka
    February 26, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    ahoj alanku a rodinko, zdravim od Jozika, Helenka taky, moc Te obdivujeme, ozvala bych se driv ale porad blbne ten internet. Mas uzasne fotky i popisy, jses pasak.
    M+ J+ H

    • February 27, 2012 at 12:18 am

      Anoj joziku a helenko. Moc krat dekujeme za comments. Cesta pokracuke pekne, ted jsme v Hanoi a zitra do Singapore. Bohuzel, jenom mesic a musime domu, klidne bychom cestovali dal protoze se nam to moc libi.
      V singaporu jsme jenom tydan a pak do Indie – to bude zajimave!!!
      Pusu vsem

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