Friday, June 01, 2007
Welcome to Hà Nội
Since my flight from Bangkok was an hour late taking off, I didn't make it to my Hotel till almost 5. This didn't leave much time for exploration of the city, and of course most tourist areas were closing or already closed. I did get to see the famous traffic of Vietnam. Bikes, motorbikes, cars, and more all jockeying for position. There are no road rules in Vietnam, or at least nobody follows that ones that exist. The only real rules are, use your horn whenever possible, and the biggest vehicle wins. Yikes. I hear the HCMC (Saigon) is even worse than Hanoi! The humanity!
I did have time to walk (carefully) down to the old quarter, and check out the beautiful and tranquil Hoan Kiem lake. The park was really quite nice, and even with the roaring honking traffic on the road behind me, the area just exuded peacefulness.
While this was really my only time to see Hanoi, and I left all the real touristy stuff the city has to offer unseen, I'll admit I took a liking to the capital of Vietnam. The French Colonial architecture is pretty interesting, and the tree shaded boulevards are a marked contrast to the wide hot streets of Bangkok.
It also helped that my Hotel was much nicer. It still had a bit of 'faded glory' but overall I was pretty impressed. The large room was a nice change to my living conditions in Japan, and the marble tiled bathroom just reeked of luxury.
The bed was gloriously comfortable, and despite both the fact that I had done almost nothing all day and the crazy traffic outside my window, I quickly sank into a deep sleep.