I survived Hanoi.
I know this statement might sound discouraging, but I enjoyed the trip pretty much despite being as sick as a dog. I was down and out with terrible sore throat, incessant cough and slight fever when night was approaching throughout the entire trip. Not to mention I had diarrhea but thankfully only trice in one of the five days I was there.
My body was overheated. When I peed, the piss was scalding hot. I downed gallons and gallons of water. I joked about the whole episode. Whenever I go on trips, I usually would count how many coconuts I drank per trip. This time round, I counted how many lozenges I sucked – 25.
I lost my voice intermittently throughout the trip, much to the amusement of my friends. They were happy that I could not possibly nag them anymore. Haha. Very funny.
Feeling unwell was probably the main reason I didn’t go all out in this trip to take good pictures or scout for great bargains. Hanoi is not a cheap place after all – you have to pay for everything – especially water. Water don’t come free in Hanoi. I guess this is the only way to deal with cheap tourists like us, who hardly tip.
It was a pretty relaxing trip, despite having terrible health condition. Both my sister and cousin sis were sick too. Still, our laughter were peppered with wheezing coughs, which further induced more infectious laughter.
We stayed in Platinum Hotel on the night of arrival. It was quite good. It has flat screen plasma tv and not to mention the highly sophisticated shower with Jacuzzi and massage buttons which I don’t even know how to operate. Yeah, I admit. I am a sua goo. It was a pleasant surprise that a 3 star hotel could have above average facilities. The internet comes for free the first 30 minutes. The staff was helpful and friendly.
For the rest of the nights, we were put up in a Junk, for a night of cruise along the picturesque Halong Bay and ThangLong Opera Hotel. I like the fresh rose they provided for us every morning at ThangLong Opera.
I didn’t regret hiring Asia Pacific/ Sinh Café travel. For only USD209+, we get what we paid for, if not more. You may contact them should you wish to go to Hanoi.
Address : 30 Hang Be st – Hanoi,
Tel :84.8. 8334083
Fax :84.4. 7567862
Hot lines: 84 188.8.131.52
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
We spent most of our time far away from Hanoi, in the outskirts – a night in the Junk in Halong Bay and the scorching sun cruise through rice canals in Tam Coc. I jokingly told Popiah, who was on the same boat as me that we would be ready to be served as BBQ food, the moment we docked. When my boss asked me what is nice in Tam Coc, I said, we were practically being sun-ed like “belacan” and I was tempted to jump into the river to save myself from dehydration. He laughed. Perhaps, we should have gone there in the early morning.
Unfortunately, the museums were closed on Mondays and Fridays. We didn’t get to go to the Museum of Ethnology – which is highly recommended as we could get to see the 54 ethnics in Vietnam and their origins, as well as Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum. We just managed to take some pictures on the outside of the Mausoleum. Other than that, we went to this unnamed cathedral (too lazy to check the internet), one pillar pagoda which is near Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum, Temple of Literature and other smaller temples.
Our guide, Nguyen The Truong is a nice chap. He speaks most of the time in his heavily Vietnamese accented English on the history of Hanoi and Vietnam in general. My sis and I found it rather amusing that he could plucked random figures out from the sky – from the dates to days and years, number of islands, legends, etc, not that we are well versed in history of Hanoi to validate his explanation. But, we are pretty much impressed by him.
Truong is 28 years old. He just got married a week ago. We were damn keh poh (Hokkien: Busy body) and asked to see his wedding photo. He married a wife 5 years his junior, whom he met in 2005. His parents wanted him to be a teacher when he was young but he ended becoming a tour guide. I could see his strong hold in history. He would have made a good history teacher.
All in all, it was a good trip. I didn’t have much to write as I was half stoned most of the time. If weren’t for me succumbing to sickness, I would probably enjoyed it more. I will let some pics to do the talking.
Well, thought of penning down some highlight/stuffs of the trip here:
1. There is practically no fat people in Hanoi. They looked at me as if I were a performer in a freak show.
2. When my fellow travel mates called me FAT – Truong was nice enough to say, they meant PHAT – Pretty Hot and Tempting.
3. The Amazing Caves in Ha Long Bay is quite okay to explore. People with totally NO STAMINA like me could make it up to the top and came back alive in one piece.
4. They sell only ONE thing in ONE street. If they sell shoes, the rest of the row of shops would be selling shoes. I wonder why they don’t have pharmacies selling Strepsils in one whole freaking row when I was almost dying of sore throat pain.
5. They don’t barge when you bargain for cheaper price, which made the 50% rule discount everywhere in the places I visited invalid here.
6. On the contrary to what people believe about getting dog meat everywhere, they are now being centralized somewhere out of town. We don’t see dog meat everywhere now.
7. Since there is nothing much to buy, we spent a few million VND in supermarket buying nuts, just to get rid of the notes. LOL.
8. Eat Cha ca fish carefully. I burned my tongue as I was too hungry. The smelly vege that comes with the fish is chives.
For detailed excursion stories, check out AJ’s blog!