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Published: February 18th 2007
Happy New Year of the Pig; farewell to the Year of the Dog. Or as the Vietnamese say - Chuc Mung Nam Moi. Wishing everyone lots of love, happiness, success, good health & good fortune especially to my family and friends in Australia and around the world.
Flew into Hanoi on the 11th Feb and was involved in a taxi scam. Hanoi is apparently famous for them. As a precaution, I had arranged beforehand for the hostel to meet me and arrange the taxi-ride. Unbeknownst to me, someone else had espied my name and put it on another random sheet of paper. Realised something wasn't right when the cabbies and their so-called mate (who was not a mate after all, but a scam artist) suddenly stopped by the roadside and demanded that I pay up or get out. Arguments ensued between the trio, but there was no way I was paying up or getting out as the chances of getting another ride at 9.15pm were pretty slim. Eventually they kicked the scam-monger, and agreed to head into Hanoi for extra money. Once we got there I pretended I didn't have any change and asked them to follow me to the
Released down the Thu Bon river
hotel for their fare. Luckily I ran into the hotel manager on the street who sorted out the cabbies. A bit of a hairy return to Vietnam. But I was too pissed off to be scared. Cheeky bastards - the sheer audacity. All I can say is - everyone watch out when you get to Hanoi!
Next stop was Hue, which used to be the ancient capital of the Nguyen emperors. Visited the Citadel, Imperial City, and various pagodas and emperors' tombs along the Perfume River.
Then it was onto Hoi An to celebrate the Tet Festival (Vietnamese New Year). The city put on a New Years' Eve concert with folk performances, singers, dancers & games. At midnight we all stood up to pay respects to the national flag & anthem of Vietnam, which was followed by fireworks & street dancing. A fun night enjoyed by the locals and tourists.
Quite a few of the businesses were closed, but still managed to walk around and visit the numerous temples, chinese assembly halls, museums & merchants houses. Also did a cooking class (yummy) and visited the Champa ruins of My Son, which are similar to Cambodia's Angkor &
Piggy versus Doggy. What's with the mobile phone?
Myanmar's Bagan but on a much smaller scale and less impressive.
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