After our trip to Halong Bay we return to Hanoi. As predicted, it was still damp and even worse had begun to rain. However spirits were high and we went out for tea with Emma and Laura (two English girls from the trip) and headed out to find a meal with consists of zero percent noodles or rice. We find a place called the 'Kangaroo Cafe' and as we wished for, not a noodle in sight. So we order our food, which contain to most carbohydrates anyone has seen since England and got talking to an odd couple from Australia who ended up showing us some of their holiday photos. One of these photos was of a local food market and the couple began talking us through the animals they had seen for sale. Apparently dog meat was very cheap. Needly to say we didn't look at the photos too closely.
So that was the Friday, Laura and Emma left that night for pastures new and we stayed on in Hanoi. We took in some of the Museums on the Saturday and put our tourist hats on and as the weather was so rubbish there was not that much to do. On the Sunday we prepared to leave Hanoi on the over night train, our destination - Hoi An.
The tickets were all arranged through a ticket agent place and all we had to do was turn up at 6pm for the 7pm train. Easy stuff. So we arrive at the ticket office and she calls a taxi. However this is were the fun starts. After 15 mintues and 3 taxis later it would appear that no one wants to take us to the train station. Myself and Heather by this point are beginning to dicuss the idea of perhaps jumping on a cyclo (part man part bike) or perhaps running to the station ourselves, which would be a faster choice? Finally after much confusion, a taxi arrives and it looks promising. So we climb in. *We have already paid for the taxi by this point. And Heather witnesses the money being given to the taxi driver.* So we are on our way to the train station biting whats left of our nails and taking a final look at Hanoi. We arrive at the train station with not much time to spare and get our bags and begin to depart from the taxi towards the station when the driver of the taxi begins to get his money from his pocket. *Remember we have already paid for this taxi* The gentleman spoke little English but it would appear he would like more money. After a brief arguement (have you ever seen two people who have no idea what the other one is saying have an arguement?) the driver points at the meter. Heather pulls out an extra note which should make up to difference, but whats that...oh no he wants the full amount from the meter. An even bigger arguement erupts, me and Heather aren't giving him anymore money and he is getting more persistent. In this peaceful country it would appear that this is out of the ordinary and its begining to cause a scene. A nosey local comes and tries to get involved however not to help just to have a good look at what is going on. In the end we decide to give in, with the thought of the train leaving and us looking for a place to sleep. We throw the "gentleman" more money and dash to the platform.
We make it on to the train and find our cabin. We will be sharing with an American couple (oh joy of joys) but they seem nice and begin to tell us of their encounter with a self made ticket inspection would just demanded money from them for no particular reason. Heather and I relax in our 'first class' accommodation and tuck into our tea of crisps and sweets. And the 16 hour journey begins.
So that was Hanoi. From there we were on the way to Hoi An, leaving behind the wet and wonderful World of old Vietnam. We both loved Hanoi and had mastered crossing five lanes of moving traffic by the time we left. But we were heading South for the sun!
To be continued
Louise and Heather.