Review of Hanoi

Hello! Sorry its been a couple days since our last post, our adventure has moved into full swing and its been hard to find time to record what all we’ve been doing. I’ll briefly explain what’s been happening to catch you all up.

After another hectic ride we returned to Ha Noi from Ha Long Bay. Once we checked back into our previous hotel, we set out on the first portion of the walking tour. It was the day before Christmas, and all was commerce in Ha Noi City. Not to detract from my earlier statements about this place, but it seems that on our second visit we were unprepared for how loud the city could be, and how crowded. The inner city of Ha Noi is a maze of shops, tiny living spaces, mopeds, and people, people everywhere, strangers within an arms reach almost at all times. After shopping and exploring for a bit, we visited an East Indian restaurant and got full on all forms of chicken, curry and rice. Yum!

After the restaurant we set out to find our way back to the hotel, but the mass of people crowding the streets made things extremely difficult. Everyone was out celebrating Christmas Eve. We learned later that over 400,000 people had crowed the streets trying to get to the candlelight ceremony being held at the church, which was quite close to our hotel. We waded through throngs of people, taxis and mopeds, lost a member of our party, found her again, and eventually made back to the hotel, throughly fatigued.

The next day, after sleeping in a bit (c’mon dad, its vactation!!) we headed out to resume our walking tour and do a bit of shopping. We found a great place to eat lunch and then went to see the Water Puppet show. This was a play of multiple acts that was put on by a troupe of puppets who were controlled by their masters from behind a curtain, with long polls under the water that animated the puppets above them.

Water Puppets

After the show, those who still had energy resumed the walking tour, and Taylor was able to get some great shots of the lake in the center of Ha Noi. We also passed a couple of bride and groom actors who were posing for their own photographer. After seeing our fifth couple, we decided that these people are simply advertising the wedding apparel, and are not actual newlyweds, although we could be mistaken. We also found a kind of night market, where traffic is diverted in the evening to allow merchants to set up stands in the middle of the road. This market went on for several blocks, and resembled american flea markets or swap meets.

Once we completed the walking tour, we headed to dinner at an incredible French style restaurant called Club De L’Oriental.

Bunny Carrot

Upon arriving, we thought that at first our cab driver was mistaken; the name was different than the restaurant we’d made reservations at, and the place looked more like a lounge than the restaurant. However, once we approached the entrance, the sliding doors opened into a tunnel-like walkway, which led to the actual restaurant, an enormous three-level building which had three separate dining areas, one of which was downstairs in a wine cellar. Our food was amazing, with beautiful presentation; one of the chefs even carved a small bunny out of a carrot.

We will leave for Siem Reap in Cambodia tomorrow, to see the great temples and travel in a country that until about ten years ago was too dangerous for tourists. Thanks for keeping up with us over her in Vietnam!

Note: The pictures in the gallery are just of what has not been previously posted in the “preview” posts below. Make sure you check out the pictures from the previous 2 posts to see a little more of what happened on our trip!

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~ by tgrantphoto on December 28, 2009.

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