You can't spell Hanoi without Annoy. >:/
12.09.2006 32 °C
We knew from the moment the bus pulled up in Hue that it was going to be a nightmare journey to Hanoy. We were obviously one of the last stops the bus had to make on its rounds of the guesthouses before it started the long journey. The bus was packed and we feared we might not get a seat together. Luckily for us a nice Japanese guy gave up his back seat corner of the bus to us and he sat down beside a Vietnamese guy. So we had the back corner two seats which at the time seemed pretty cool. One stop later and the back seat was full with three guys beside me and Lisa at the window.
About an hour into the trip the fecking back floor started to heat up…oops we forgot the back of the bus is where the engine is. :/
So the whole journey was quite sweaty. The aircon was working and providing some coolness until… The tit sitting at the opposite back window opened his window to let the air come in and cool him down. Which prob worked a treat for him but for the rest of the bus it was a warm air breeze gushing in and fecking up the AC. Anyway after a while the two lads nearest me got off at their stop, Lisa and I and the window opener had the whole back seat to ourselves.. nice. We got about 2 hours sleep in total due to A. the heat, B. the uncomfortable ness of it all and C. the crazy driving of EVERYONE on the roads in Vietnam.
Amazingly we arrived in one piece to Hanoi city around 6am, it was raining and the city was waking up. This is a great time to catch a glimpse of how Hanoians spend their mornings before work. Everyone was jogging around the lake, playing badminton on the streets, doing yoga, aerobics classes in parks and power walking about the place.
So as usual we went with the bus guy to their hotel in the old quarter of town. Usually these hotels are a safe bet but the one we got wasn’t the nicest place we had stayed in, but it wasn’t too bad, plus breakfast was included. We had a snooze before setting off on foot to explore. The street we stayed on was the pots and feckin pans street. The noise was feckin crazy…!!! plus there were bikes and cars flying everywhere around us. Very Hannoying!
Everyone kept asking us did we want a motorbike/cyclo tour of the city EVERY minute we were outside the hotel. But you get used to it after a while, and learn to just smile and say no thanks. Also crossing the road in Hanoi is very like Saigon.. head down, deep breath, start walking at steady pace, no slowing and usually you make it to the other side just narrowly avoiding losing a toe to a rouge motorcyclist. (or even Rogue)
We had a walk about checking out the big cathedral and searching for some food. After a frustrating time trying to find a place that was no longer there (curse u lonely planet) we went to a bar called the Funky Monkey (GAY BAR GAY BAR) for a couple of pints of beer and a chin wag with the very friendly barman. (I wonder why he was very friendly - says Lisa - the excitement at seeing big tall Jim he he)
Oh, before this we bumped into the Israeli guy and his Ozzy mrs we had shared a boat tour on the Mekong a few weeks before. They were going to Laos the following day and had already done the northern tour from Hanoi. We told them we had decided to do the Halong bay tour. We said goodbye and found a nice place next to the cathedral for some delish eats and one of those table cloths that you can write on with crayons they leave on the table. We drew all over it and took it with us.
The second day in Hanoi we avoided the tour girl in our place trying to get us to book with them and went for some much needed haircuts. Lisas took about 6 hours to get coloured and mine took about 5 minutes by a guy who sooo wasn’t interested and didn’t have a word of English so once more I got feck all off it although, the hair washing beforehand was great fun. Hair washed; head massaged, ears cleaned with long nails, face washed and hair washed again.
We spent the next day bumming around the old quarter and then went to watch the Liverpool game in the gay bar again but when one of the guys wouldn’t turn up the volume we fecked off to a small bar down the road with a much better atmosphere and cheaper beer. We went off and booked a tour to Ha long Bay for the next morning.