back in Hanoi

October 29, 2008 at 10:38 am 2 comments

Spent nearly 3 days in Hanoi. The moto taxi drivers, depression, and eye trouble prevented me from doing very much. I can admit, to trying a lot of touristy restuarant fare though. The best of the lot was Little Hanoi in the Old Quarter, while the vegetarian restaurant named after the Vietnamese Cinderella comes second. It’s unfortunate i can’t actually eat at the food stalls where all the locals eat. If it’s not meat than it’s cooked in meat broth, and that’s just not appetizing.

After Hanoi, i went to Sa Pa, which is a hill city in the north, not far from China. I spent about a week there. My friend Ming is there, working at a restaurant. He ran out of money, hichhiked to Sapa, and found a job in exchange for room & board. Fortunately for him, he’s blessed with a passport from Singapore so he has no trouble with visa fees and he doesn’t stand out as i would if i were in his situation. He’s clever, resourceful, and beside the problem of Sapa’s cold climate and his lack of adequate clothes, i think he’ll be fine.

Sapa is small and quite compared to Hanoi. But even in Sapa the pressure to buy doesn’t cease. However, the sellers are sweet village women, mostly from the Hmong tribes, who follow you saying “buy from me.” The girls and younger women (<30) speak English, and when asked how they learned it, they reply “from tourists.” With their antique customs (early marriage, early pregnancy, minimal travel from home) and traditional dress they remind me of the homely Amish, and yet their ability to speak English is so much more advanced than the average Vietnamese… and they can be so witty you forget that they are simple village folk…

I will post pictures from Sapa later.

Tomorrow i’m heading to Huế. It’s actually pronounced “hoouy” which is akin to a Russian term that respectable (lol) girls don’t say (in public) and makes me blush when i say it here. I hear Huế is more European and relaxed than every other Vietnamese city…

After Vietnam i am considering flying to Bali to meet Asya and then traveling through Indonesia. Every one i have met who has been to Indonesia loved it and wants to return. Whether i go now or later depends on whether Asya can find a cheap ticket from Australia. I already found one, circa $250 one way. This makes sense for me because after Indonesia i’ll work my way up through Malasia back to Thailand. I was looking for NGO work in Cambodia, but i’ll put it on hold if Asya can find a ticket! Back in Australia she’s having the same trouble as me- finding a suitable travel partner. There are just things that are not practical or fun doing alone….

Unlike Thailand and Laos, Vietnam is full of tour groups. Mostly older folk who travel by the dozen, families with young children, and couples. I’m not the only traveler who’se having difficulty finding travel companions…

I’ve met several people who’s next destination is Laos. After a week in Vietnam, i have grown even more affection for Laos and Lao people. I thoroughly encourage everyone to visit Laos! I’d like to return for a week or two towards the end of my time in S.E. asia and do some trekking and homestay in the north… I’ll definetely need a companion for this. :)


Entry filed under: travel. Tags: , , , .

feet Vietnam, i don’t like you

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dana  |  October 29, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    wish i could travel with u ..would be fun .. sounds like its going great .. still enjoying reading ur blog

  • 2. Dina  |  November 2, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Indonesia is next?
    I am back home by the by. It is much better to be home :)


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