Hanoi, Vietnam

February 28
We took a taxi 45 minutes to the airport in Da Nang. We flew to Hanoi because it was only a little bit more expensive than taking a day-long or night bus. We arrived in Hanoi after our hour-long flights and took a bus into the city. Originally, we got into a van, but the van refused to leave without reaching capacity, so we got pissed off after 35 minutes of waiting and argued for our money back. Once a few people in the van argued with him, he gave us our money back. We then took a bigger bus into the city which took 45 minutes to an hour. Once in the city, we took a taxi to our hostel, Hanoi Backpacker Hostel. It was a western style huge hostel like Reggae Mansion in Kuala Lumpur. Rooms were only $6 a night but that’s because they make most of their money at their bar at night and on their famous Castaway Island Ha Long Bay Tour. We booked the tour, which was overpriced but supposed to be the best. We ate lunch at the hostel and then walked around the area. It was raining so we ended up chilling in the hostel for a couple of hours before dinner. We met the people in our hostel dorm room and one of them was this guy who is famous around the world. If you have ever seen a picture of a guy with a world map tattoo, this is the guy. He colors in each country that he goes to after he visits it. He is in his 50s now and from the USA. He has been interviewed by most major news networks about his back tattoo. He has been traveling for 10 years and takes about 3 months a year off to see his kids and grandkids. He has been everywhere and was fun to talk to. He runs budget traveling tours for a living now after giving up life as a lawyer. Once he left the room, I looked him up online and he was telling the truth about everything. It was cool. Matt and I then went to dinner on the road that our hostel was on. We then were going to go to the hostel bar but wanted to grab a couple of beers outside on the street first, where it was dirt cheap. There are a bunch of little ladies on street corners here with little plastic chairs set up for people to come up and get draft beer from their kegs. Once the keg is empty, you move on the next place. Beers were only 22 cents so it was a very cheap way to spend your night. We were planning on pounding a couple if beers and then going to the hostel bar, but we were having so much fun, we just stayed out. We met these two Americans who were our age that we hung out with this night and the next night. While we were drinking, a few other people sat down and joined our group. Then people passed who someone would recognize and they would join in. These two girls from New Zealand that Matt and I met in Hoi An walked by so they joined us. It was great. We had a group of like 15 of people from all over the world. There was even a pilot who was drinking with us that worked for Vietnam Airways and may be the pilot of our flight in five days into Laos. After the first corner keg was empty, we went to another corner that was more busy with people drinking. Whenever the police came by, you had to quickly get up out of your seat and stand on the sidewalk because the locals weren’t technically allowed to put chairs and tables in the street where cars and motorbikes drive by. Once the police car drives away, they all put the seats back on the street. Everything shuts down at 11:00 pm because of the curfew and everyone just goes home or goes to a club that pays off the police to stay open later. We all just went back to the hostel and got to bed around midnight.

March 1
We woke up at 9:00 am because we wanted to do a free walking tour organized by our hostel. But, since we are in Asia, it just didn’t happen so we walked by ourselves around the town based on a suggested walking route on a map that we got. We first went to the market, which was pretty big. They had these candy things that I had in Da Lat that I loved, but they didn’t taste the same so I didn’t end up buying them. We looked at all the knock off bags, wallets, clothes and electronics they had in the different shops. Like in every market in Vietnam, every single person you pass tries to get you to come into their shop. You have to ignore them or they will take advantage of your kindness and pull you in. We then walked the streets, which were pretty busy but different. There were many streets that had the same type of shop on them. One street had shops that only sold tires. Another street had shops that only sold pots and pans. We walked around a lake and saw a church. The town was nice for a day but that was enough to see it all. We went back to our hostel area and ate dinner before meeting up with the two American kids at the corner keg place again. We met some more people and all hung out for a couple of hours just like the night before. It was a solid night again.

mikepsilve'sHanoi album on Photobucket