We travelled from the tranquility and beauty of Laos to Hanoi, Vietnam and left the airport straight into CHAOS !!!! The motorcylcle / moped scene is initially a bit daunting and makes any busy (traffic-wise) European city I have ever visitted look like a scene from Driving Miss Daisy. Not only are there no real lanes but there is no real direction of flow on any road - not just left or right hand side but every cocievable direction... what a laugh though.
The first night here we found an "alfesco" local haunt where you sit on tiny plastic kiddies chairs with the locals in the middle of the city and drink beer. We were there about 2 hours with a couple of Isreali guys, Bernie got tipsie, I had a skin full and the total bill cost me less than $4 (US) - we were paying 20cents for a beer.... I love this place.
The following day we went to see the water puppet theatre in central Hanoi and spent a couple of hours deeply amused by this local artform.
The very next day we caught a bus to Halong Bay and spent a couple of days cruising around the islands in the bay on and old-fashioned wooden style junk-ship. The days mainly consisted of swimming, jumping off the roof of the boat, kayaking and drinking beer. In addition to the breathtaking scenery we met some wonderful people who we partied with on CatBah Island.
The food is much much better in vietnam and we acually have choices on what we might want to eat each evening.
I am successfully achieving something I have intended to do for years... and I'm getting into shape... quite accidentally - it's just happening of it's ơwn accord so thểre you have it - ìf you are trying to get back into shape don't bother with the gym and diets - just quit your job and travel for a few months.
We leave Hanoi this evening and head south working our way through the whole of Vietnam dơn to HCM in the south... first stop Hue. This trip including all of the 7 venues on the way dơn will take ús approximately 18days.
Take it easy, don't work too hard... in fact sod it - take the week off the week off :-)
Stuart and Bernie