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Published: April 23rd 2009
Monday 20th April
The next morning we met the rest of our group at breakfast and had several cups of coffee and tea as we chatted to them and said our farewells. After breakfast we made the most of our air conditioned room at the Army, relaxing and uploading our blog.
We checked out of the our room by 11am and caught a taxi to our new hotel - certainly worth it for the couple of dollars it cost us. Classic 1 is part of the Sunshine Group and appears to have been recently renovated. Our room was clean, spacious and oh joy, the pillows were soft. At less than half the cost of the Army Hotel it was far better except of course it didn’t have a pool. The hotel has 36 rooms and is the tallest building in the Old Quarter and right across from what we call “3,000 Dong Corner”. this is because on each of the 3 corners you can get a local freshly brewed beer for that price - the equivalent of 25 cents Australian.
After dropping our bags we went to pick up our business cards. These were ready for
View over Hanoi.
Classic 1 is reputed to be the tallest building in the Old Quarter so we caught the lift to the top floor!
us and the owner of the shop seemed pleased to see us. After this we looked at a few shops and Rags chose to have a hair cut. Judy left him to it and walked around the block looking at the shops. By the time she returned he had gone but she knew where she’d find him and sure enough there he was at “3,000 Dong Corner”.
The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping. As we were once again returning to the hotel Rags got an sms from Noisy who was still in town. He said they were at a Bia Hoi place in Bakh Kahn Street. We couldn’t find this on the map so asked at reception and they marked it on the map for us so out we went again.
We easily found him and Roodog on the crowded sidewalk. After 20 beers and some tasty bar food we went for a walk and Noisy showed Judy the location of the department store.
We then adjourned to the nearby restaurant. After dinner we waited for Stacker and Shredder who had returned late from Ha Long Bay. They joined us and we listened as they
told us of their experiences. By this time we were tired and hot, sweat still pouring off us, so we made our way through the frenetic traffic to our hotel.
Tuesday 21st April
We were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the buffet breakfast at Classic 1 - most probably one of the best we’ve had in Vietnam!
The morning was spent packing and doing some more shopping. Luckily Rags noticed some scales downstairs so we’ll be able to weigh our luggage as we are only allowed 15kg on our Tiger Airways flight to Singapore.
Another visit to the Dong Xuan markets followed. This market was destroyed by fire in 1994, that resulted in the death of five people and the loss of an estimated USD4.5 million in stock but has now been completely rebuilt and extends into the narrows streets surrounding it. The market still manages to look like an old shopping mall and sells all sorts of low-priced goods. We were fresher and managed to bargain for a few items here today. It’s absolute chaos at these wholesale markets and we’d only had a brief look on our last visit. Prices are much
better than elsewhere if you can get the stall owners to look at you.
After lunch at “The Ladybird” we went to the Huyen Spa (65 Hang Bong Street) where we both had a massage (without a “happy ending”) and Judy had her nails refreshed. The massage was great- one of the best we've ever had! By this time it was 4pm so we walked to the supermarket and bought a couple of snacks and other items in an attempt to use up our last Dong!
We didn’t stay long as we were eating into Rags beer time! We made it back to “3,000 Dong Corner” in time for a couple of beers before departing for the airport.
We were treated to a very nice air conditioned Camry with leather seats for our airport transfer - not bad for US$9. The trip took 45 minutes and the driver never seemed to take his hands off the horn. - I think he was afraid of scratching the bosses car.
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