Just finishing our last day in Hanoi. Yesterday we visited a gothic cathedral, which was really odd because it was just stuck in the middle of all these busy asian roads and street vendors, it looked very out of place.
Then we got a taxi to the Temple of Literature, we took a street taxi, and the taxi driver tried to scam us out of 700,000 dongs, which is about 22 pounds. we argued with him for ages and he finally accepted 100,00 which is about 3.50, but was still probably about three times the price it should have been.
Entry to most tourist exhibits is about 10,000 dongs, which is only 34p! and because I took my student card I get entry half price. The Temple of Literature is ancient, it was built in the tenth century, and was where scholars went to study confucius and write poems. It was hard to imagine it was built a thousand years ago!
After the temple we went for lunch and then to a spa where we had a 45 minute massage for about 6 pounds! It was pretty rough, she stood on me and punched me in the back a few times, so it was more to ease tight muscles than to be relaxing. She also used a cream that was supposed to whiten skin, lucking it didn't actually work!
Today we walked to the Ho Chi Minh memorial, but it turns out it closes at 11 so we didn't actually go in. The heat today was verging on unbearable, I think it was about 36 degrees, and bright sunshine. we tried to take a walk through the botanical gardens but got really lost, and stressed in the heat, so we got a taxi to the next place which was the Prison Museum.
The prison museum was really good, strange as well because its identical to one of the maps I play on my xbox game call of duty, (the map is called hanoi so I shouldn't be that surprised). The museum was interesting, but you could tell alot of it was communist propaganda, because it explained the time that the museum was used to imprison communist vietnamese revolutionaries as cruel and harsh (it was built and used by the french) and they showed the time that it was used to hold the Americans ( years later by the very same communists) as humane and reasonable, although I very much doubt this is the case.
Tonight were going to eat from a nearby street vendor, which always has lots of locals eating, and the food is cooked fresh.
Hanoi is a weird city, there's not actually that much to do or see here, and it's not very accessible. We very rearely see tourists, and everyone stares at my hair! There are so many people on mopeds, hundreds and humdreds, and they follow no rules, they ignore lights and crossings, they drive on the wrong side of the road, and they are all always tooting! Everyone eats on the sides of the streets on tables and chairs that are so tiny! smaller than the ones I had as a child.