So I have been in in Vietnam for nearly a month now and I have learnt a lot about the culture. In the south they said that the northerners eat monkey brain and the northerners say the southerners do! If the Vietnamese smile and say yes when you ask something they haven't understood you and just want to please.
In the various visits I have made to Hanoi I have noticed the huge build up to tet, the lunar New year which they celebrate this year on the 10th February. The Vietnamese treat this as their biggest holiday of the year,buying and wearing they newest and best clothes while cleaning their houses top to bottom and decorating with peach blossom treas or kumquat trees to bring them luck in the new year. Things are starting to close down for the celebration which I am pleased to see although I suspect lots of the tourist restaurants and shops will remain open which is a little sad. Today I sat by the lake in the city centre while they planted the last of the flowers (a display to make even the flower markets of Amsterdam seem small) and test the sound system for the fireworks display that will happen. They have decorated everything possible with symbols from Vietnamese and Chinese culture, some based on the star signs. I have found that some of the most seen symbols mean longetivity and double happiness. I am finding myself wishing everyone happy New year which feels strange as we are now over a month into ours! Which brings me to my almost half way point in my trip.
Following our trekking in sapa, our sore legs ventured to halong bay to marvel at the caves and rocks jutting out of the water on a beautifully clear day. The sun even shone for a short while. We enjoyed some amazing local food in attempt to satisfy our returning appetites after both being a bit poorly. In the last few days of Hanoi exploring we found the museum's b52 bomber remanats and other things in a USA army machines graveyard. Strange place but calum loved it! After a sad farewell to calum, who has hopefully left with fond memories of Asia?! I have ventured to my cheap hostel for my last night in Vietnam. I am leaving bright and early at 5am in the morning to travel to Chiang mai in Thailand. in Chaing mai i am going to work th the elephants, i am hoping it is good as i hope it to be!
Today remains a sad day, it is the day that we say a final goodbye and allow great grandad to rest in peace. I am with you all in spirit and wish I could be there. Take care. Xx