First stop on our COS (close of service) trip…Hanoi! We arrived in Hanoi on Sunday evening and after dropping our stuff off at our hostel, went straight to the weekly night market. The street was packed with food, clothing, and trinket vendors, and crammed with locals and tourists alike. Andrew and I are so accustomed to being hassled for looking like tourists in TZ that it was a delight to just merge with the crowd and go with the flow.
On Monday we went to the Hoa Lo Prison Museum (which was fascinating to Andrew) and the the Fine Arts Museum (which was fascinating to me). Ah, marriage! Otherwise we mostly just walked around, eating or getting coffee every two hours or so. There is also lots of shopping, with store after store of “North Face” brand clothing and the classic elephant pants (which are twice as expensive in TZ and lower quality). Also, there are motorbikes EVERYWHERE. Crossing the street is like an art form. You have to just step out there, and walk slowly. That’s right, slowly. The motorbikes will just go around you.
Today (Tuesday) we went to the National History Museum and then did a walking food tour with the cutest, most interesting Vietnamese girl. She told us she traveled to Singapore once and felt like a queen because vehicles would stop for her when she was crossing the street. We stopped and ate small portions of various dishes at about 8 different little restaurants, and finished the tour with ice cream and then coffee. We had beef, pork, shrimp, chicken, fish, eel, and duck. I was so full that I felt rather ill by the end of it, but it was so much fun to try so many different foods (and get some chopstick practice). We finished the day by going to a water puppet show, which was very neat/odd.
In the morning we leave for a 3 day, 2 night cruise to Bai Tu Long Bay!