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Published: September 26th 2016
Ngoc Son Temple paying respects
We arrived here late at night on the 24/9 to check in to our quaintly, glamorous, character, Essence Palace Hotel in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. As it was a Saturday night the Old Quarter was humming. It's a maze of narrow streets and alleys and they were jammed tight with, of course, motor scooters along with any other vehicles that were mad enough to brave it, mainly taxis like ours. Our room is small so we have requested an upgrade and they have obliged but not until the last two days as they are full. The staff were warm and welcoming.
Went to bed.
Next day Lyn left for work at 8.15. The life of the overseas international recruiter is not all glamorous! She had an Educational Fair in another hotel a few kilometres away. I did my usual thing and went walking. In the heat. Mad dogs etc. I headed, slowly, for the Lake and wandered around it in among the Sunday crowds of family groups having picnics or just strolling while the kids played. I stopped at some of the sights such as the Ngoc Son Temple which is reached by a bridge from the Lake
Ngoc Son Temple from across the lake.
shore and was very popular with the crowds. Many at the Temple were making obeisance to the Buddha or, maybe, just paying respects and there was lots of incense floating in the air. Later I had to enter a department store at one stage just to get some air conditioning relief - it was hot and steamy outside. Interesting, the department store - here in a country that we probably think of as developing and with the majority of its citizens not that well-off, sits this luxury 6 storied place with stuff in it that I can't afford. Waaaaay over my pay scale (that used to be). Just shows you that capitalism will triumph in the end. Well, for the 1% perhaps. Around the Lake there were street bands, other entertainment, small stalls to eat at, coffee shops and everyone seemingly having a peaceful Sunday.
After circuiting the Lake I meandered into the Old Quarter and really got among the crowds, heat, noise and hustle and bustle. I'd describe it as a riotous cacophony of small, street -side market holes-in-the-wall selling .... "stuff". The alleys are chocker with wall-to-wall stalls spilling out onto the sidewalk so that there is
Going to pay respects
no sidewalk, and you walk on the road among the traffic. Each of the alleys seem to be given over to one thing only - fabric alley; clothing alley; footwear alley; bags alley and so on.
I ended up sitting in a hole in the wall bar having a Vietnamese Bia and a baguette filled with delicious barbecued pork and salad while I watched the world go by.
Later on I met up with Lyn at her event which had been another highly successful day. We left there and, with a few others, made for an upstairs bar with a balcony overlooking the lake. The bar sold German beer along with the local Bia. The Vietnamese barmaids were dressed in German costumes and carried Steins like they had grown up with it.
Our meal was at a well-known traditional Vietnamese place where many food stations were set up around the perimeter of a large inside space. You ordered from whichever food you liked the look of and it was delivered to the table. There were 8 of us so we shared a broad selection of what was on offer and it was all yummy!
Hanoi - Melia Hotel
Lyn working with Amy at the Education Fair
was that for the day. We both like the look and feel of Hanoi. Tomorrow Lyn has only the morning until 1.00pm to work so we'll go exploring after that.
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