Anthony and Erica on the road to Mandalay 2006 travel blog

Front of Ngoc Son Temple in Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi

Temple interior

Temple detail


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Moped river, Hanoi Old Quarter

Bangkok Spaceport: Up at 4.15 and off to the airport, and now Erica has flown off home leaving me on my own! And also bad, my flight has been delayed for three hours, and I am right hungry, having had no breakfast or coffee. I am missing Erica, and still haven't adjusted to being on my own, but I am sure I will.

Hanoi, later: Here I am in Hanoi, sticky and noisy. At first I was unimpressed, spoilt by recent experiences in Myanmar, and by having been to China, which Vietnam is like a mini version of, but I quickly grew to like it here. The Hanoi Hilton was what POWs used to call the prison here, which by all accounts was pretty grim. If its not an insensitive thing to say, my hotel is much nicer. It is in the middle of the Old Quarter, relatively narrow streets overwhelmed by rivers of mopeds. And the air-conditioning actually works. There are a LOT of mopeds here, and crossing the road is interesting, basically you just forge your way across with your fingers crossed, there is no other way.

So I booked myself on a little trip for the next few days, the most practical way of doing what I wanted to do next. Basically I am going to Ha Long Bay to stay on a deluxe junk and motor around the fabulous islands in the South China Sea off North Vietnam, with a few other outdoorsy things thrown in. Details and pics will follow soon, no doubt. Then generally I just wandered around the Old Quarter, amusing myself by crossing the roads, which as I said is quite an experience. I did visit a wee temple in the middle of a nearby lake, but it was very crowded with local tourists, although pretty. So first pack for the next few days and then out to get some genuine Vietnamese scoff! In the process I had a lot of fun wandering around some interesting small streets, etc. If you can hack crossing the road, this place is rather nice and interesting.

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