The way to Hanoi, for me, was all but easy. Let us say that, it was an adventurous trip from Laos to Vietnam. I set off, by night, from the crowded Luang Prabang bus station. I remember that, at the time to get on the bus, the driver let the local people to jump on, first, and keeping the westerner to wait until the bus was full, even though I had my ticket with assigned seat number. A bit discriminatory and so I had to accommodate myself along the narrow aisle that was, of course, occupied by the bags and products of the local people that were carring along with them to their next destination. It is very common, in South East Asia, to see the buses packed up with all the most inimaginable things. Animals, food, boxes and much much more. Although it might be a bit uncomfortable, I love these travels full of surprises.
On the bus, I could hardly find a tiny room for myself and I also had people nudging at me, being compressed between the two rows of seats.
I had to spend all the night long crouched on some boxes with the suffocating
smell of the food that the local people brought on the bus that made me wish to get off the bus as soon as dawn appeared.
Eventually, the morning came and, just after crossing the border to enter Vietnam, I freed myself of that long lasting and painful bus trip and commencing to find another way to head to the still far away Hanoi.
I do not have a clue of the little Vietnamise village name but, luckily, searching through the stands of the bus station I found a man speaking a bit of English and, with him, I arranged my trip to another town from where I would have got a train to Hanoi.
It was drizzling and, accompanied by that man, we headed down the road ,walking for a few minutes, until we reached another sort of bus station.
I was told to stand for a while and wait for him until he would have come back. I saw him chatting with someone and after that he came back with positive news that I could have a lift to go to the city of Vinh and, from there, catching the train to Hanoi.
I had to pay some money, for the trip, and probably being ripped off but, with the relentless rain that were coming down, I just desired to have a shelter and drying myself out.
The bus was odd, it did not have seats and there were only a bench where the bus driver kept some stuff on it.
I laid on the floor and tried to have some rest after a long sleepless night on the first bus.
I could not get to sleep with the noise of the bus and so I observed outside of the window the rain and the trees that fastly passed over me, wondering when I would have got to Vinh, if it was a good choice to have taken this bus and what to do on my next trips.
I was half asleep when I heard "we're in Vinh" and I just jumped on the floor with joy getting rid of all the preoccupations and worries that pervaded me for the entire journey.
The only last effort it was to find the way to the train station. The bus driver drew a map, for me, about how to get
there and written in vietnamise
the name of the station so that I could show that to some local person and be helped out on my quest to the railway station.
Once everything was set up I started my way to get to the station. The city at first glance did not attract me much and seemed more an industrial city.
Along the way, I could see many mechanic shops and labourers busy in performing their job.
It was still cloudy, dark and that was one of the reasons why Vinh did not appeal me, on that day.
I was almost there nearby the train station when I first saw the only monument along the street. It was a cannon in the middle of small square.
Finally, I was arrived in front of the train station and I felt relieved to have found that and soon getting on the train to Hanoi.
Inside there was nobody, the station was dark and plain, it was a typical communist style place. I looked for the ticket office, bought my ticket and then I sat down on a bench outside and waited for the next train
I really felt the tiredness and I tried to have a sleep since that the day was tranquil and nobody were around, so I took a rest.
Soon the train arrived, got on it, laid myself on the three row seats and, for the first time in almost two days, I slept on a soft stuff until my destination, Hanoi.
It was already night when I got to the capital of Vietnam. Hanoi was really bustling with all those motorbikes running to and fro around the city. Many lights, European style public squares, tree lined boulevards, food stalls galore and that general dirtyness that I love in the Asian cities.
I have chosen a very basic hotel with a plain room overlooking the bustling street on the third floor. As I entered inside the room, I dropped my backpack, leaned over the window, watching outside and enjoying the nightlife evolving after me. I love the smells, the caotic market, the people, the mess, the dirt and all those things you can witness in this spot of the world.
Many people ask me why I like so much Asia and, when I reply, I
always say ,like a great mountaineer said: I climb mountains because they're there, and ,I say, I went to Asia because "it's there".
A bit about the history: Hanoi was influence by the Chinese rulers that gave to it the Chinese name,Tong King, later Tonkin. In the 18th century Hanoi was occupied by the French and It became the capital of French Indochina after 1887. The French developed the industry of the country building railways.
In the Second World War Hanoi was occupied by the Japanese and liberated in 1945. From 1946 to 1954, there was a heavy battle between the French and Viet Minh forces. Eventually, France was defeated and the country was split in half.
During the Vietnam War, the city was heavely bombed by the U.S. in December 1972. Hanoi was established as the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on July 2, 1976.
Now, Hanoi is modernize with plush shops, restaurants, hotels and modern building.
Apart of walking around the city, I went to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoluem.
The mausoleum is located in Ba Dinh Square, when Chairman Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence on
september 2nd 1945, establishing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
The mausoleum was built inspired by the Lenin's Mausoleum in Moscow.
The cloudy, dark weather gave to the imposing structure a sinister ambiance and, on that day, it was closed and could only admire the outer part of the building.
Tot: 0.092s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 11; qc: 21; dbt: 0.0169s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.2mb