Last days in Hanoi


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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi
September 27th 2016
Published: September 27th 2016
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Tomorrow morning we leave for Halong Bay after some memorable times here in Hanoi. For Lyn it's been all about work but for me it has been a chance to explore a little of the city and soak up the atmosphere. And what atmosphere! Where we are staying has a very different feel to Ho Chi Minh City. It's much more traditional with the narrow streets and alleys and the people living right on the pavement. Walking around is eye-opening and so very different from anything we see at home that it makes you realise why we travel.

Lyn has been at meetings and Fairs and dinners so has had very little time to herself. Yesterday and today were no exception. Rounds of meeting agents and Principals and going to schools but yesterday afternoon she did have a few hours so we went walking together and had a nosey around. She had wanted a silk thingie and finally found one she liked and bargained for it with the very nice shop owner. Once bought the owner pulled out a camera and, telling Lyn she was "so beautiful", made her pose in the garment for picture after picture. As Lyn says, she's only beautiful in Vietnam and China - it happens a lot!

Yesterday was very hot. Even the locals said so for this time of the year. Up around 35 degrees.

That evening we had a dinner hosted by the New Zealanders here for the events. It was at a quite fancy restaurant and the set-up looked really posh. Back in New Zealand Lyn had asked NZ's Ambassador to Vietnam, Haike Manning, if he would attend. There was a reason to ask him other than him being the Ambassador. He had been in my class at Paraparaumu School in Form 1 and 2 back in the day and we had known his parents well. His older brother had also been in my class at one stage. He accepted the invitation so we were looking forward to catching up and it was a bit of a coup for the Vietnamese to have a "dignitary" present. He had just got back a few hours before from a half marathon mountain run. I liked him even more. We had some good conversations and he was charming to everyone in the room. It was a good night all round.

Today I joined Lyn at a school where she and her colleagues were talking to teachers and students. Afterwards we were taken to a silk factory where the machines looked like they were from 19th century England textile mills but were going great guns regardless. Not a lot of Work Safe practices in sight as we walked through the working room watching the looms thundering along, all pistons and levers and cogs and pinions all exposed to an unwary finger or arm or leg or hair....If yesterday was hot today was a record breaker. The locals were commenting that it was most unusual for this time of the year - 37 degrees. A few scarves and garments were purchased.

That was followed by a big lunch put on by Vietnamese Principals and agents to thank the Kiwis for their hosting in previous days. Course after course of seafood. Not much shared language but lots of laughter. Only a few hours later Lyn had to go to a dinner with many of the same people - overkill really.

We are packing up ready for an 8.00am start by car to Halong Bay (11/2 hours) and a three day boat trip in the World Heritage Park.


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