Thursday 7th July
We headed down to breakfast this morning with the intention of theft. By the end of the meal we had a rucksack filled 6 ham sandwhiches and 8 muffins that we were going to use for lunch and snacks for the day. Just a little money saving technique! We got on our coach around 8:30 and headed back to Hanoi where we arrived at lunchtime.
We headed straight out despite the blistering heat to see the sights of the capital city. We headed for the botanical gardens first but soon realised that we were trying to get into the grounds of the presidential palace when a nearby guard started whisteling and waving at us. Next we went to see the Ho Chi Minh mauseleum where his body is kept but it was closed so we could not go in and see. It was located in a huge concreted area where we imagined big commy parades taking place. It was here we agreed it was the hottest we had ever been as the sweat dripped from every part of our bodies. We were relieved to get into the next place which was the Ho Chi Minh museum as it had good air con. It was an interesting place but the upper level was filled with arty stuff which we didnt really understand. We also saw the one pillar pagoda and Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts and then headed back to the hotel via the city's flag tower.
In the evening we headed to the city's old quarter where there is a tradition of each street selling only one type of thing. So you would have one street for sunglasses or one for t-shirts. We both agreed we liked Hanoi much more than the other big cities we had visited. This may have been influenced though by the 13p Bia Hoi (beer) we had at a streetside stall! We then went to see the Hoan Kiem lake of which people say you have not been to Hanoi until you have been here.
Later on we had an evening meal at the Little Hanoi restaurant before heading to the Dragonfly bar to use the free beer tokens we were given on the street. Whilst in there the bar had a power cut so we finished off the beers and went to find somewhere else. We ignored the 11pm curfew which seems to be loosly upheld and went to the Hanoi Backpackers hostel where they had live reggae music for the night. We headed home around 12 and the heat was still in the 30s, this place is a joke!
Friday 8th July
We woke up at 7am to find that the air con in our room had switched off. Both our beds were soaking from sweat! We got the air con back on and went back to sleep for a couple of hours. After breakfast with Tim as chief navigator we got ourselves to the Temple of Literature. It was the first ever University in Vietnam and had alot of history. We then went to St Josephs Cathedral before picking up some takeaway pizzas which we ate on the bank of the lake.
In the evening we went out for the final meal with some of our group at the Ghecko restaurant. On the way home we went back through the old quarter and the night market and got ourselves an early night.