Had to do a bit of shopping here in Hanoi today. My duffel bag somehow started ripping on the top and I decided I wanted something bigger. As you all can probably guess, buying these kinds of things in Hanoi is easy. You basically walk to north of Hoan Kiem Lake in the old quarter and you can find just about every kind of duffel, backpack, daypack, that you can imagine. It really does not matter to me if its over stocked or North Face fake or export excess or whatever. If the bag only lasts a year or six months, I will consider that I talked the shop owner down 5% in price and got a nice North Face bag whether its real or not for about USD $15.00. That’s good enough to carry on the plane and on short trips here and there. What I need is a bag that can carry changes in clothing, my laptop and power gear, the kindle, and my camera bag all in one bag. I hate carrying multiple carry on bags. I won’t be flying internationally again until September when I fly to Cambodia so I am not too concerned about the bag issues since I also carry on my backpack. I don’t trust airlines and checked luggage and I like to make a fast exit when I get somewhere and be the first in line for a cab or whatever. I also beat people out of the airport by sometimes 30 minutes since they have to wait and then get the bags to the curbside.
The second thing was a lens cap for my Fuji camera. I thought I could find one of these easily in Hanoi but no one has them. I went to about 10 camera shops and one even called the local FujiFilm office for me. No good! As luck would have it, I went back through the clothing from my Hue trip and there it was. But this made me determined to get a replacement lens cap when I get to Hong Kong or purchase one in the states and have it shipped to Saigon later. I don’t like having only one of things like that.
Since my time is drawing down here, I came up with some bucket list items starting tomorrow I want to do. I am gonna try to get them down before leaving Hanoi in a week. I still find it amazing the I’ve lived here for 3 months now. Hanoi has been great to me!
I started planning out shorter trip in southern and central Vietnam to places that I can get to from Da Lat on a bus. So far Nha Trang and Cam Ranh Bay have been booked for shorter trips. I want to see the central part of Vietnam both the highlands where Da Lat is and the coastal areas. The beaches are supposed to be great there.
After some planning for Cambodia, I may disrupt that and stay longer in places and rebook my hotel rooms or do something else. I have months planned in Cambodia now with hotels and buses booked to take me places. There are things in each place I want to see and mostly I want a slower pace than the 2 days to see some temple and then leave. A few of the places are slower in pace much like what Da Lat will be. Its lets one refuel the gas tank, see the local neighborhoods, and also get familiar with the every day things people do.
Its going to be both fun and sad to leave Hanoi. I’ve really wandered all over the city and have felt welcomed in all places I have gone. But more places await and Vietnam has proven to be a fun place to see. I’m fortunate to have been able to do the trips I’ve done and now have new places I want to see before leaving in September.