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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi
March 10th 2016
Published: March 19th 2016
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Yesterday we changed our return bus tickets to an earlier time. There was not much reason to spend the morning in the village except to watch the harbour activity. At least the bus company staff were friendlier than those the other day. The orders were still abrupt but with less aggessivity. Still, it was not until 3 pm that we arrived back in the capitol.

There were lots of taxi drivers offering rides. We were told by the hotel staff to take a green taxi but Claudette was anxious to get to the hotel and nap. She is very congested. She took the next taxi she saw. It had a meter so we figured we were safe enough. The fare was way above the estimated rate. I am sure we were taken for a ride. The driver had the audacity to demand a tip.

As soon as we were settled in again, I headed out for the post office. It is at the other end of the lake, about a fifteen minute walk. I am getting quite adept at crossing traffic.

I stood in two line-ups for quite a while before being directed to a newspaper stand at the entrance to the post office. There, I was able all that I required. This was facilitated by a hand-written note I had acquired a few minutes before. A university student had stopped me to conduct a survey for developing an app similar to Tripadvisor. In return, I asked him to write in Vietnamese a note saying I was a stamp collector and wanted one of each stamp they had. I ended up having to go get more money. Three rejects by the ATM’s later, I went into a bank. Strange, no paperwork and I didn’t have to show my passport. I don’t think I got the best exchange rate.

My next challenge was to get them cancelled. No problem. The lady was an employee and got the hammer and cancelled all the stamps for me. She was assisted by a guy with a bag full of stamps. I think he hoped to sell me some more after. Indeed he did but I had already gone over budget and even after ticketing we couldn’t agree.

On the way back to the hotel, a young woman stopped me to ask for help. She wanted to practice her English. We walked slowly back towards the hotel and then sat on a bench near the lake. She was a nun I found out. Her English was quite limited so we soon ran out of things to talk about. I helped her with her pronunciation. We received many strange looks from the locals. Maybe they thought she was a hooker though she certainly didn’t look like one. Her faith preserved her dignity.

We decided to return to the Indian resto we had found on the last trip to town. The food was just as good as we remembered. Then back to the hotel to pack for tomorrow’s flight back to Canada.

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