The bus dropped us the middle of nowhere as usual so there were taxis waiting. The taxi tried to rob us which wasn't a great start after the worlds worst bus journey! He covered the metre with our bags in the front and when we got out to pay he said it was 290 dong- about £9! We stood and argued for ages that it was no where near that price and pointed out what it should have been! We had only been in the taxi for 10 minutes! He kept making stuff up like a charge to come into the city centre and then that we had travelled 17km, which we clearly hadn't!! A security or traffic warden came over but didn't say anything to us, just stared, but told the taxi driver he couldn't park there and would need to go. We gave the taxi driver what we had, about 100 dong, and said we didn't have anything else- which we actually didn't. We still over paid too. He was not happy in the slightest! He pretended he didn't understand us most of the time but when he realised he wasn't getting all the money he said "f*** you", "f*** you"! Haha!
We went and checked in at Camilla 6 hotel and they had a room ready for us so that was good! The room was pretty dinghy and had a few ants and didn't seem that nice at all. We asked to change rooms and pay extra to upgrade to a deluxe room as we had seen on the reviews that they were nicer. They had one cleaned for us and we went for a KFC for breakfast while we waited. The room was on the same floor, right on the very top floor. It was a good hike up all 5 floors! That was my exercise for the day! The new room was much better, it had two large double beds, was very nice and had a balcony. The shower was the only problem as it was over a bath and didn't have a curtain so the water just went all over the floor. It also seemed like we might go through the bath as it kept making creaky noises! There was a hole drilled in the side of the bath at the bottom where all the water from the plug came out of and then soaked the floor making it's way to the other side of the bathroom to the drain. We were so glad we paid to upgrade though and it was still only £6.60 each a night!
It was still early and we still had the full day to explore the city which was good. We walked around Hoan Kiem lake, which is a famous lake in Hanoi and right near our accommodation. We did some shopping at the supermarket and then followed the map to walk around the city going through 'walking street', with all the bars and shops, the main indoor market and the outdoor street market. The indoor central market was the most mental one yet, and we have been to some mental ones. It was so jam packed and everybody just pushes everybody, you end up just having to go with it! There wasn't really many tourists at the market and it was very very busy as everybody was preparing for new year which is on the 19th. It's a really really big holiday in Vietnam and they spend weeks preparing and have 3 weeks off work for it, so everywhere was selling New Years stuff and the mad rush was on! In the central market I was looking at buying some shoes but when I asked the woman on the stall how much, she just said no sale and then turned away! I was gob smacked! I don't think she wanted to sell to a tourist which was bloody god damn rude!
The roads in Hanoi were mental again, not as bad as Ho Chi Minh though, but still bad. You have to play chicken on the roads again but we are getting pretty good at it now, we just breeze across the road- follow the rule: they will avoid you! (Hopefully)! The air here was worse than anywhere. You could see the smog lining the city and it always looked foggy. It was that bad you could actually taste the dust in the air! It was pretty cold too, which was new to us. No more shorts and tshirts- they were swapped for trousers and jackets! The sun had gone and the dull weather was here!
After mooching around and sightseeing we went and sat at a rooftop restaurant watching the bustling traffic and people whizz by. It was pretty mental! We had another walk around town later on and watched as they started to set up the night market, which was massive- one big long street with stalls. We got some sushi as we were still full from the rooftop restaurant and went back to hotel to relax after a long 2 days!