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Published: July 13th 2015
A fantastic night's sleep. Not being sarcastic but the gargantuan groaning, clanking and clickety clack of this prehistoric Russian train lulled me to sleep. Actually Brendan's snoring was way louder than the engine. We are scheduled to arrive in Ha Noi at 0430 so when we woke up to find out it was light outside, Brendan was convinced that we'd overslept and ended up in China. I said "don't be silly, we would have had to pass immigration first". Anyway, I had more urgent matters on my mind. I am having to visit the manky toilet where I discover I have lost the hardcore backpacker balancing act in a swaying train toilet somewhere in the last 20 years. My legs aren't what they used to be, and as there was no discernable feacal matter on the walls, unlike India Rail, so I decide to use them to assist me the balancing act. I have already used one bottle of hand sanitiser and we still have 2 train journeys to go.
So with the late departure and god knows what else whilst we were asleep, we arrive in Ha Noi at about 6.30am. After disembarking we got a taxi which only
cost $2 to get to our hotel. I knew that check in time was at 1400 so we asked to leave our lugguge while we go and get breakfast. I asked what time we could check in anyway and the receptionist said we could checkin in an hour. Awesome. We literally turned a corner and there we were at Hoan Kiem Lake where all the locals were doing their exercises. We found a very nice cafe right on the lake and paid Western prices for croissants and coffee and it was worth every cent. Every hotel and eating place has free wifi and we went without it on the train so we spent breakfast on our devices. I didn't think it was possible, but it's even hotter and more humid here, even early in the morning.
There are some hardcore backpacking habits of mine that are really hard to break. After insisting that each family member wash their day's washing in the bath tub before showering like a peasant down at the river, we discovered the local laundry service does it for a $1/kg of which there is one every 50 metres or so. I double checkedout hotel prices
which was a dollar per item, so after we showered and settled into the very plush Golden Lotus Hotel, Brendan and I literally walked next door where they were demanding an exorbitant $2/kg. We then walked around the block checking out all the shops. After entering disgustingly cheap The North Face shop, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! We passed a lovely old cathederal and a classic power pole with a billion wires all looking like a bowl of spaghetti before heading off into a twisted mess in a hundred different directions. We pretty much spent the rest of the day in the hotel because it's so damn hot out. I wrote my blog and swam in the pool while the boys watched movies on HBO. We didn't venture out until about 1700 when walked to the office where I had organised our trekking trip in the mountains, so I could pay them the money before we leave in a couple of days. The woman there said it was cooler today but even at 5pm it was still 36 degrees and 90% humidity, so we went back to the hotel where the kids had a swim. At about
1900 we found another baguette shop on the sidewalk and ate our dinner there, all for $11 with drinks. Early to bed as we have another early morning.
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