FRIDAY 2ND FEBRUARY 2007
staying in the old french quarter in Hanoi right by the lake which is lovely. Explored the city today.walked to the edge of the old quarter to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum complex which is basically the former Viet leader's corpse on show for all. However got there at around 1 to find it closed at 11am so missed it! Went to the market which sold pretty much all the same stuff - junk! The night market was a little better but as with all towns we've been to was very overcrowded.
SATURDAY 3RD FEBRUARY 2007
Got a bus to Halong Bay & then a boat around the islands. Was gorgeous. We went to two caves which werer also impressive. Spent most of the day cruising round the islands though. It was a worthwhile trip but one day was enough i think. Some people were disappointed and commented that pictures glorify it too much but i thought it was equally as beautiful & would have been a shame to miss it which we did consider cos of the weather. Glad we changed our minds.
SUNDAY 4TTH FEBRUARY 2007
Went to the municipal water puppet theatre today to watch a performance. It was a show where water puppets (no suprise there!) acted out diferent scenarios from Vietnamese history & life i.e.kids playing in water, fishing, tigers, phoenixes laying eggs etc Enjoyed it but it wasn't fantastic - it only lasted 40mins buteven in that short a time it got a bit repetetive. We then had a ride around Hanoi city on a cyclo. It was v. laborious & painstakingly slow - we seriously couldhave walked just as fast (or slow as it were). Then to add insult to injury the driver just cycled around the lake (we agreed when we negotiated a price he would go further afield) then tried to make us pay after 20mins instead of the full hour. We didn't & continued to ride but he went up the main street so we got out after 1/2 hour'cause we were sick of breathing in traffic fumes. We then paid him 1/2 of what we agreed & he went mental. He satrted badmouthing us to all the locals who seemed to momentarily circle us. I cacked myself & thought we were gonna get lynched or something - lol :) Gaz stayed suprisingly calm & explained to an english speaking local after which everyone went back to there business!Phew!! We then went for tea to a restaurant (i use this term very loosely) which ticket every health & safety no-no possible. It really was gross! It was in this humble eatery that we both tried the Vietnamese delicacy - DOG! One word - eeewwwwwwww! If anyone ever tells u its like chicken they're lying - for one its red meat. We ate 2different varieties (1seemed grilled in texture - quite dry while the other was boiled or stewed & very soggy). Even Gaz didn't approve although in true Gaz syle ate a large portion of it before deciding so. Its definately one dish neither of us will be eating again. After this whole debacle we watched a circus by the lake. Some of the acts were awesome. The swinging by the teeth/mouth looked particularly painful though :( One guy dropped a girl during a v.speedy rollerskate act - OUCH! & 1 gymnast could bend into positions we never thought possible - it was that extreme it made us both a bit queezy!lol