Edit Blog Post
Published: December 25th 2007
We arrived in Hanoi on Dec.13th, not knowing what to expect It's the 2nd largest city in Vietnam,and the most furthest north. We stayed in the city not far from lake. Each morning we could hear the loudspeakers playing music for those early risers doing their tai chi exercises by the lakefront.
We found a small hotel in the Cathedral section of town, not far from the trendy street where we had our first meal in town. There, we sat near the window, shutters were open to the street, listening to French expats chatting over wine, and we soaked in the sounds of the street over a great pizza. We wandered the streets taking care to cross through the onslaught of traffic, mostly motorbikes and scooters. We chose to eat in places that served French influenced food, and were not disappointed. We visited a few sights in the city including the Ho Chi Minh museum and mausoleum. We enjoyed walking around the lake and stopping for coffee at one of the many cafes nearby and just taking in the sights. We also visited The Metropole one night for drinks. The population is very young here in Vietnam. Well over 70% were
born after the war here and don't dwell on the past events so we're told.
We also booked a two day trip to Ha Long Bay. This included a 3 hour minibus roundtrip ride to the Bay, all meals, our cabin on the boat and a guide for our 16 person group. Initially we were a bit skeptical as we chose a mid-priced tour ($75/person). We were really pleased with everything. Our cabin was very comfortable. Our group consisted of many in there mid-30's or younger and a Dad traveling with his high school aged daughter. All from the UK, Australia, and Canada. Once they'd learned that the last concert Dennis attended was "The Doors", he rated pretty high in their books. Someone eventually hooked up their i-pod to the sound system, and after dinner The Doors' song "Light My Fire" played on the sound system. The weather was overcast which is typical this time of year, but still an amazing sight to see.
After seven days in the north, we flew to Danang, in cental Vietnam. We took a taxi the 30km to the ancient port city of Hoi An, recenly put on the Unesco World Heritage
list. As a result, the town attracts tour groups and tourists to see the Chinese influenced buildings and visit many of the over 200 tailors for custom made clothes. As they don't design any clothes, most people bring pictures or samples of what they want made. Dennis had a pair of chino pants copied exactly for about $25. In a way, this town has the comfortable feeling similar to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. As a result, we've been here for almost a week. Tomorrow we take a 3 hour train trip to the city of Hue to visit the Citadel. It's also closer to the area where many Americans fought during the Vietnam War.
We enjoy the messages from family and friends. We wish all a very Merry Christmas and a verry Happy New Year.
Tot: 2.723s; Tpl: 0.045s; cc: 10; qc: 62; dbt: 0.0481s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb