We caught our flight to Hanoi at 5 45 pm. Myself, nick and neal were all a bit nervous about what the plane was going to be like as you hear so many story's about these little dodgy propeller planes. Thankfully it turned out to be some little private jet so i was happy but the other two guys were not convinced. Our plane name was fooker 70. How ironic would that of been if it crashed. Anyway we made it safely.
The vietnamese are masters of scams and unfortunately we fell for one of them. We got a transfer mini bus from the airport to head to the old quarter part of hanoi. We knew where we wanted to stay and they said they would take us there. We turned up outside our hotel and our little guide runs out to check on availability and comes back saying it's full up. We go to another one of our choices and he checks and comes back saying it is $50 for the night, which is way over our budget. He suggests a place for us so we go there. It was $22 a night between us which is still expensive on our budgets. By this time it was dark and we were fed up so we took it. It only turned out to be the hotel he worked at so he obviously lied about the other two.
That night we headed out for a few chilled out beers to a place called funky monkeys. On the way there we see two huge rats one which charged at us. We stood our ground though??!!. On the way back we see a fight between two locals. (just like home) My first thoughts about hanoi wasn't that great. We see rats, the streets are filthy and we got scammed.
The next day we had planned to meet back up with mark but this was going to prove to be difficult as this place is huge. We eventually met him in the evening, just in time to watch the football, which was a really bad performance by us yet again. During the day we took a walk around some huge lake in the city centre. Stories have it that there is a two metre tortoise living in there. There's even photo's of them catching it so i guess it must be true. Probably just a myth like nessy. We visited an old prison called Hoa lo. When vietnam was under the french colonial period which started in 1883 and ended in 1945. Vietnam would not of got it's independence if it was not for a guy called Ho Chi Minh. He is a legend out here and rightly so. I would quite like to read up on him and his battle to re-instate independence to the Vietnamese. Anyway this prison is where the french use to imprison the Vietnamese people and treated them really badly. They use to chop off there heads with a huge guillotine, that's only if they were lucky enough to of made it that far. 40 people a month were dying in here at one stage due to food poisoning to the rice. They use to also feed then gone off meat to make them ill to. Once vietnam had control of there own country they use to imprison american fighter pilots there. Fortunately for them they were treated really well and most of them got released. That's enough about the history as i could go on forever.
The following day i moved in to a new hotel where mark was staying. We made some mates from America and Ireland and just hung around with them having a good time. We decided to visit a museum called Ho Chi Minh, obviously in memorial to there hero. It was pretty cool and great fun to learn about the history. That night we decided to go to a water puppet show which is meant to be amazing. My self, i can't see what the big deal is about. It's some strange puppets (not curmit or miss piggy) on the end of some bamboo poles which were under water but you could still see it. It was a long hour for me. Maybe i'm being a bit harsh as I'm sure a lot of time and effort goes in to perfecting it. The following day we went on a boat trip to Halong bay for three days.
We arrived back about 5 pm and as it was some of our last night's we decided to go out for some dinner all in desperate search for some western food. After a good feed it was time for a bar crawl. We started in the irish pub, then funky monkeys bar for a few and then ended up in the lighthouse club, where we had been a few nights before that and had a great night. By this time our group was growing another two lads from brighton and some girls from london who we are currently still with. There on the same route as us until we get out of cambodia. Anyway ten of us arrive at this club and the night was going so well until a huge fight broke out. It was the best but most savage fight i have seen. Basically this huge russian guy who was being a nob anyway and he followed one of our mates steph in to the toilets and freaked her out. He sat next to us lot outside and was just staring at the girls. Mark being Mark thought it would be a good idea to say something in his drunken foolish chicken brain state. So what does he say? What's your favourite vegetable and confused him. Luckily for mark the guy just got up and left and then the fun starts. The russian obviously upset some local dudes, in fact seven of them. We heard a bottle smash looked in and saw this russian machine taking on all seven of them. He knocked two of them completely out straight away. There was bottles and ashtrays flying around everywhere. They were smashing each other over the head with them and then decided to use tables and chairs. This place was manic and the bar staff did a runner. There was only one security guy and he was honestly about 78 and built like a dwarfed rake and he comes in with a chair and joins in to in the attempt to stop the russian robot. The fight went on for about ten minutes, there was blood everywhere but the Russian guy never went down once. In all fairness he got the better of them. This bar was completely trashed. One policeman arrived and chucks us out the back door so we walk round the front and it's still carrying on out the front. Like i said it was really savage but amazing to watch. Something out of the movie's but worse. I'm supurised know one was killed to be honest.
The next day we had planned to move on so we booked up a hop on and off bus ticket which will eventually take us down to saigon. !700km all for $30. During the day i went to the embassy to get a new visa as mine runs out soon. I got there at 11 40 am and surprise surprise they had just closed for two hours for lunch. Who the hell has a two lunch break and at 11 30 to. They come back and i waited for another hour to be told they needed my passport for three days to extend my visa. All i need is a new stamp for christ sake and i'm at the place where they do it so why the hell will it take three days. I had wasted my last day for f all. Guess i will have to get it done somewhere.
By now it's time to catch our over night sleeper bus to hue. A bus with lots of beds. Sounds great and who would of come up with such a genius idea? Why don't we have them back home? Well i will tell you why, because our country probably isn't big enough to spend 13 hours on a bus and who would pay to catch it when it's impossible to sleep as the beds are built for anorexic dwarfs. By now i'm tired, grumpy and need to find a hotel, so it's time to go