This morning we woke knowing it was the official last day of one trip, and the official start of the next one, and we were excited to keep seeing what this trip had to offer. Because it was a transition day meant it was a free day, or until 6pm when we had the orientation meeting, so we took it as a chance to just stay in bed for a bit and chill out.
Though eventually hunger got the better of us, so we showered, changed, and headed out into the street with Tirposo suggesting a place about 1km away for breakfast called Hanoi Social Club, and it was run by graduates from the training restaurant Koto we had eaten ate a few days before, so it felt like a good option.
The walk was nice, and the temperature was actually very decent, so once we arrived we were in good spirits. We ordered burgers instead of the usual breakfast, as we felt like something more substantial, and they were very decent, and very filling. Sadly though Mollidy only got half way through hers, as earlier in the morning she had taken her malaria tablets on an empty stomach, which we had both done once each before and it didn’t make us feel so good, but this time it went one better and she threw up.
Once out of her system though she felt better, and the other half of the burger that she wasn’t able to eat before being sick she got as take away to finish later. After that we headed back onto the street and walked down to a local attraction, the Hanoi Hilton, which was a prison camp made famous during the Vietnam war. It was an interesting place to look through as there was a lot of propaganda information against the 100 year French colonial rule, and of course the Vietnam war, but it was still interesting.
After that we caught a taxi a few kilometres deeper into the city to the main market, or what we thought was the main market. This place was massive, as it covered two large buildings and all three floors of each building, but sadly it was more set up as a wholesale market where locals came to buy products for their shops or smaller markets around the city. So not really the place for the casual shopper, but sill cool to look around, even if it was a little stuffy and claustrophobic.
After that we looked up another market on Triposo and that took us to a place that was meant to be a mix of a shopping centre and market, but ended up being 5 floors of almost nothing, as most of the shops were closed down. It felt like the mega mall we had been to a few days earlier, but worse. So for today our hunt for markets put us at 2 failures.
We were hungry by this stage, and especially Mollidy as she technically hadn’t eaten any breakfast, and so we used Triposo once again and found a rooftop restaurant just down the road, and though they stuffed up Mollidy’s order, it was still pretty good. After that we kept on walking and this time went to the Hanoi War Museum, which covered the whole history of Vietnamese wars over the last 1,000 years.
We spent nearly two hours here as it’s fairly big, and it was actually pretty cool. Once again seeing something so one sided really did make me think about how no matter where you go in the world, that country will spin their museums down a path that paints them in a good light. So I’m so used to the propaganda these days that it doesn’t bother me, because as far as I’m concerned each side does it, so it’s best to just take it all in and with a pinch of salt.
It was pushing 4pm by the time we left so we walked back to the hotel so we could shower and get ready for the meeting and dinner. We picked up our washing as well which they had made a mistake with by giving us three things that weren’t ours and not giving us back our washing bag, so we had to sort that out which was annoying, but it all worked out in the end. But with all our washing back meant we needed to pack it away, but before a new leg starts is always a good time to repack anyway.
We went to the meeting and met the 6 new members and our new Thai guide, Chai. We lost 9 members from the group, some of which had been with us from the start, and some since the start of leg two, and to replace them we had 3 Ozzies, 1 Brit who was born and raised in Singapore, and 2 Italian sisters. So though our group was now only 11 members, down from the 16 we started with, it still felt like a good balance.
After the meeting we went out for food, and we had our first real street food experience, though it wasn’t exactly what we or Chai were expecting, as this was genuine street food, with small street tables and chairs to go along with it. There were many stuff ups with the food and paying, as Chai didn’t speak Vietnamese, but the food was good and it was an interesting experience, so all up I liked it.
We then headed back to the hotel, as a few of the group were pretty tired from having just flown in, and we were told to meet at 8.30am when our next private bus would be there to pick us up for the start of this third leg. Mollidy and myself went to our room to finish packing and to relax, and by 11pm it was lights out and off to sleep.
Today I want to talk about clothing and how many times you might change per day. When traveling you might be the type that wants to pack light, or maybe you like to pack everything for every possible situation. Well when traveling Indo China, no matter what group you fall into, my advice is to plan for the fact you’ll end up changing clothes 2 to 3 times a day.
Even venturing out for an hour or two in the evening in fresh clothes could lead to you wanting a nice shower on your return, and the clothes that might have only been on for a short time now don’t look so appealing when putting them on the next day due to dry sweatiness. So bring enough clothes to accommodate this, or at least be prepared to do washing every 2 to 3 days to keep up with the constant changing of clothes. There is another option though, and that is to not change more than once and just be stinky and gross, so it’s up to you.