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Published: June 13th 2017
A fishy looking crowd
Our first team photo, taken in front of a bicycle laden with 50+ fishtraps. Peggy & Frank Gundlach, David & Cheryl Morley, Dianna & Joe Adorjan, Patrick & me.
Geo: 21.0243, 105.855DAY THREE (1/5/13)— Hanoi
We join our band of eight for breakfast in the hotel and plan the day's itinerary. Many items are considered and abandoned for a variety of reasons. We consider a day trip to the ancient capital – 8 hours and too long having just traveled 30+ hours. We consider a trip to a village that is famous for his pottery – again too far and a bit tedious. We want to make sure what we are selecting is not a part of the 1.5-day Hanoi tour that Tauck will provide.
We settle on the Ethnology Museum, which covers Vietnam's 54 ethnic minority groups, their people, dwellings and costumes. We are happy with our choice. Fun photo opportunity, with lots of information for all of us whose history classes focused on North American and Europe. My favorite item: a bicycle bearing 50+ fishtrap baskets. Very attractive, very unwieldy, very un-American. We see many people toting things by bike throughout the day … souvenirs, paper products, fresh produce, fresh flowers. It's amazing.
The city is crowded with motorcycles. Millions of them. Literally. Many drivers wear masks because of the exhaust fumes and pollution. No one, I mean
NO ONE, yields to pedestrians here, even in crosswalks. It takes your breath away to cross the street. Hint: Once you've started, don't stop. The drivers learn to dodge pedestrians but assume they will maintain pace. So stopping in the middle, changing direction or speed, could get you in a HEAP of trouble.
We pile in two cabs for our 20-minute ride -- $7.50 per cab. We pay admission ($1.25 per person!) and tour the two floors. Lots of dimensional and decorative items. Models of huts/homes, more fishing equipment than I've ever seen in a museum, gorgeous clothing (especially the ceremonial garb). It is very interesting. I assume it must have somehow been funded by the French, as there is more than you might expect devoted to French customs and festivals.
Following the tour (60-90 minutes), we taxi back to the hotel and eat at the buffet. We discuss the afternoon options. We decide on a walking tour of the Old Quarter, with a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake and a visit to a variety of stores. The stores are interesting, but not interesting enough to buy anything. (PS - I did buy a lovely evening bag at the museum
this morning, made of pretty silk and large enough to tote my camera which I take with me everywhere.)
It is misty and occasionally drizzly. Not the best weather for walking or for picture taking. Gundlachs decide to strike out on their own; Adorjans quit early and the remaining four of us spend perhaps two hours on our afternoon adventure. We retire to our rooms mid-day to catch up on a little rest.
We meet in the hotel lobby for a drink and then walk through the hotel grounds to a lovely Vietnamese restaurant on property called Spice's Gardens. Food is yummy and the Tiger Prawns ordered by three of our group arrive flaming. Quite impressive. Tomorrow is another day. One more private adventure before we join our group at six o'clock for orientation and our first group meal.
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