12.12.2011 - 13.12.2011
12.12.2011 - After checking into our hotel and freshening up, we took a wander around the old quarter streets. It's pretty impressive, each street has it's own speciality, metal, jewellery, silk, herbs, mirrors and even gravestones. You want it, you can probably buy it in Hanoi.
One of the first things we noticed about Hanoi is the volume of mopeds! The streets are narrow to begin with, so when you jam them with cars and mopeds, there is very little space for the poor old pedestrian. We worked out though that if you walk with confidence and own your little spot on the road, it all seems to work out. Well, fingers crossed anyway.
We wandered around the little streets for ages, just taking it all in. Grabbed lunch in a little cafe and slowly got used to the differences between China and Vietnam. It was funny buying anything, even just a bottle of water, and they would say 5000 VND, and we'd be like - what, how much! We were so used to it being 1 yuan, that 5000, despite being only 15p seemed outrageous.
Hanoi Old Quarter is based around Hoan Kiem Lake, which is really nice to walk around, especially with ice-cream :o) Hanoi is much warmer than China and today was the first day we've been able to wear shorts in months.
We grabbed dinner in the old town and enjoyed our first taste of Vietnamese food. I think we're going to like it here!
13.12.2011 – Today we wandered around the lake before making our way in towards the large Cathedral just west of the lake. It’s been a while since we saw anything religious that wasn’t a temple. We found a really cool café called JoMa and had some lunch. Chris’s beard was well and truly out of control by now (after almost 2 months without a shave!) and we both needed a haircut, so we found a nearby salon and I got a wash/cut/blowdry for $8, and Chris got a Wash/Cut/Shave for $5. Price wasn’t the factor though, we were just happy we no longer looked scruffy.
Later that evening we enjoyed a street BBQ (where you cook your own food on the street-side with all the mopeds whizzing past) before heading to the water puppet show, which was really pretty cool. The guys handling the sticks do a really good job, and the show is well coordinated to music and singing. It's only a couple of dollars and well worth it if you've got an hour spare.