Fun and Frolic North of the Old Quarter

Tomorrow I leave for a few days in Hoi An so I ended up at this favorite beer place for cheap Halida draft beers in the old quarter. Its a nice place where a lot of tourists go but the prices are woozier. I can get three draft beers for about $1.70 cents total. Then I went over to eat at this place not far from the hotel. There I had a plate of Pho noodles with beef and a beer for about 75k VND. That’s about $3.30 for a plate of food I was very impressed with. The pho noodles fill up your tummy and the and beer is the dessert :-).

I also wandered around north of the old quarter almost up to Long Bien Bridge and the Water Tank. Its one of my favorite places to go walk because of all the differences as you walk the streets. Here are some photographs of today’s rather fun and sweaty rambling.

There are so many places in this beautiful city to get lost in that I seem to forever turn new streets and find a new temple, an interesting shopping district, or friendly people. I don’t know how many people on the street said hello today just walking by. Business people, folks that work in stores, young and old people. If you want to find a place that’s friendly, I would suggest that Hanoi is a likely locale. I do think you have to get away from the old quarter and find the places that will let you see the bigger city. Since its the capital of Vietnam you get to see government buildings, consulates and embassies, and private buildings. By the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and toward West Lake there are so many beautiful places.

I also paid my last month of rent at the hotel today and I’m good until June 14th. The next weeks leading up to my departure from Hanoi see me traveling to Hoi An, Hue, and then to Hong Kong for a Visa run. When I get back to Hanoi, I have one night at the airport and then a 30 hour train trip all the way from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam is a finger of land.

As you can see, Hanoi is in the north and Ho Chi Minh City is in the south. Connecting the cities are the usual international airports but that’s not the way to go if you want to really see the country. The way to really go is the 30 hours of the train trip. Its easy to fly north to south. A few hours and you are there. What have you seen though? I want to see all of Vietnam via the train.

Anyways, after Hoi an, I am back in Hanoi and have a few places I want to go here still. There are at least three museums here I will visit. But I guess I feel after paying the last month’s rent, that the time is slowly ticking by for my three months in Hanoi. Its been so good living here. I’ve met people, found excellent watering holes and food places, learned my way around. If you have a choice with your travels, try spending longer in places. The Vietnamese people are gracious and fun loving and enjoy talking about their country. They enjoy beer and good food and the prices are so reasonable for both.

I’ll be reporting and taking pictures on my travel to Hoi An next. I fly down tomorrow on Vietnam Airlines. Not only is the food and lodging cheap, but flying around Vietnam is also reasonable.

When my time is up and I must say Sayonara to Hanoi it will be with a heavy heart. I think that this is one of the best and most interesting cities to have hunkered down in and lived for awhile. I’m so glad I defined my travels for longer trips.