Good Morning Vietnam

Yeah, I couldn’t resist the title even though it’s evening here.

I’m currently in Hanoi. Not staying at the Hilton here (I’ve heard it’s not so great). It’s a pretty intense city. A bit of a sensory overload and I know a thing or two about that. It’s all a bit surprising to me since most of the images I have of this country come from Platoon or Apocalypse Now. I half expect to see someone from the Sheen family around the next bend…

I’m staying in the Old Quarter of Hanoi and that’s all I’ve seen since arriving last night. It was raining today so I didn’t explore too much – just wandered around the area. All the French colonial buildings are so thin they look like a slight tremor would send them tumbling to the ground. And beneath all those buildings lay cramped streets jam packed with scooters. Scooters whose horns blare incessantly. I can’t really even fathom what this place would be like without all the traffic. As soon as I start trying to imagine it, a horn will ring in my ear from a couple feet away and jolt me back into reality.

All these scooters fight for space on the roads while on the sidewalks women in bamboo hats carry baskets of vegetables slung over a board on their shoulders. Internet cafes cast a glow across the streets onto ancient men fronting ancient shops full of anything you can imagine (often ancient looking junk). It’s like old and new met up and decided to get in a streetfight

The people have generally been really friendly and welcoming. A lot of that is from the hope of getting some tourist dollars, but I’ve met a bunch of people who seem to me happy just sharing a laugh with me and not trying to sell me a tour.

I’m still trying to figure out what to see while I’m here, but I know I’ll be staying in North Vietnam – just not enough time to go all the way down to Ho Chi Minh City. I might make it as far as Hoi An before turning back up to Hanoi. Halng Bay and Sapa are on the itinerary,but I’m not sure when or in what order I will be making those trips.

Tormorrow the weather is supposed to be better than today’s constant drizzle, so hopefully that will afford me the opportunity to do a bit more exploring.

Lastly, I know I haven’t mentioned anything about Singapore here, but I’ll get to it. Just like I did with this wee blog, I might cull some content from emails sent to friends and family – that should make the job a bit quicker. So, sorry if you end up reading something that sounds familiar.

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