So Now I'm in Hanoi, enjoying my last day here. I've had a couple of good nights out with some great people I have met here, But I'm now pretty anxious to get back on the bike. This place is relativaly cheap, but as with any city it slowly eats up your money. I'm staying in the Old French quarter where I stayed with Bec around 5 years ago. Its changed quite a bit, there are loads of tourists here and most of them seem to be tour groups of old French and Australians. When we were here before I can remember shopping for clothes to start my job as a teacher in China. We were going into Soviet style department stores with a very commie feel to them, but now they all seem to have been replaced with shiny new american style shops with cosmetics departments on the ground floor, all proudly displaying advertisements for Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. One step closer to the homogonised society that we are/will soon be living in. Theres also a sprinkling of KFC's and Gloria JEans Coffee houses sprinkled around the city. The colonial influence of the french is very aparrent here with
Outside the beer factory
Sitting outside the Bia Hoi factory enjoying fresh cold beer straight from the factory. Only 20cents US a pint!
delicious coffee and baguettes for breakfast with hunks of cheese. The coffee is so strong and a cup costs as little as 20cents USD. The only thing is it always comes in a tall glass tumbler with a long spoon in the glass. Having no saucer, means there is nowhere to put the spoon if you take it out, so everyone just drinks it with the spoon in the glass. However if you are a bit of an 'Un-co' like me, you often end up poking yourself in the eye with the spoon. I hope I don't cause myself serious injury with this as it would be a disapointing story to tell the grandkids, surviving a head on with a herd of bufallo only to be hospitalised with a coffee spoon...
Between meals, beers and cups of coffee, I have been riding my bike around the city and trying to get my ass hardened up for heading off. I went to buy a new bike saddle from the TREK bike shop (actually just a man with an apartment filled with bikes above a womans clothes shop) but they were all too expensive and I wasn't sure if they would
Traffic in Hanoi's Streets
Moped upon Moped upon Moped........
even be comfortable. In the end I decided to do what everyone in my generation does when they have a problem. I Googled it. Google provided a plethoera of ideas to combat the problem of saddle sores. The one that appeared the most was to use some kind of lubrication between your shorts and your ass, the most suggested being 'Vaseline' or 'KY-Jelly'. I have heard that these solutions can stop you from getting a sore arse in certain other situations, but I'd never heard anyone mention them as a solution to saddle sores. So, I headed off to the local pharmacy, still walking like John Wayne and bought a tube of KY-Jelly and some nappy rash cream. The worker in the pharmacy was giving me funny looks, and I wasn't too impressed with the see thru bag that she gave me, leaving me to take the walk of shame back to my guest house. I did however try it yesterday and it works wonders!
So tomorrow, I will leave Hanoi and hopefully make it to the coast, where I can go for a swim in the tropical sea, and camp on the beach. This is something I have been missing so much living in China and I hope that since I have my bike I should be able to camp on my own private beach every night for the next week or so. I just hope there is no visible polution...
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