We are half way through our two weeks in Vietnam, and I’m writing from a sunbed in the shade by the little pool in the honestay where we live, in Hoi an, called “the tailor town”.
Is it only one week since we arrived in Hanoi?! It has been intense days, filled to brim with impressions.
Let me make a list, to try and organize my thoughts a bit:
1. The streets of Hanoi, full of scooters and cars, beeping horns twice a second for no apparent reason, scooters parked on all pavements so one has to climb over them or risk life by walking at the edge of the road… all the exhaust, mixed with weird smells from rice pancake and noodle restaurants, everywhere people sitting on tiny plastic stools, drinking tea, cooking on stoves……. birthday party ornament street, music instrument street, buikders’ equipment street…. So foreign and interesting, frustrating and fascinating all at once.
2. Our hotel we chose from home, Lucky Guesthpuse Hotel no.2, was a gem. Not due to placement on busy street (though in theory walking distance to the lake and placed in the old town), the room was small but clean and two double beds plus a single was comfortable. But it was a gem because the staff was just so friendly and fun, joking with eachother and with us and the kids, and helping us out with taxis, finding good prices on things, booking a tour fornus to the Halong Bay, and getting us tickets on the night train to Hoi an… all the time with a big smile and positive energy.
3. The joy when we found good food! Not all Vietnamese food is like in their restaurants in Scandinavia. Rice pancakes…. no thanks. At least not the way it was served in that cafe we visited. It hasn’t been easy to find smoothies and fresh mixed fruit juices here either, which we enjoy so much in Thailand. My 5-yearold is developing an addiction to coca cola, which they never get at home. But luckily, fruit drinks do exist. We found them at the White Lotus in Hanoi. And on the menu last night, in the first restaurant we went to in Hoi An.
4. Ps, most of the Vietnamese food is truely delicious. We went into a small place where there was no English on the menu and no English talked by the waitors, but they used google translate on their phones, and we pointed at a picture of a meal, and were served a wonderful meal with lots of small unknown dishes that we shared, whilst giggling with the young waitors, who also played with the kids while they waited for the adults to finish eating… so. No worries.
5. 2 nights sailing tour in Halong Bay
……. I dont’t know where to begin really…… A wooden ship, a group of stranger passengers meeting and getting to know eachother – I have 6-7 of them now as facebook friends…. we did… we visited a cave… and the Titop island beach. We had great meals on board the big ship and a snaller transport ship between mothership and event spots… we did kayacking and saw many big eagles… we visited Monkey Island where we fed them nuts which they came and took out of our hands… we visited big arts and crafts workshops where handicapped people had a workplace, and they made beautiful things out of silk, jade, wood, ceramics, porcelain, stone sculptures, clothes jewellery from gem stones…….. we… had a most fantastic evening drinking free Vietnamese beer and us 3 mamas on board ended up having a karaoke session! Hahaha….. oh yeah and the squid fishing by night…. And the cooking class where they taught us how to make rice paper spring rolls… The communication in hyper fast Vietnamese-pidginEnglish, which always left us passengers look at eachother and laugh because all our faces looked like big question marks, none of us knew what the message had been about and we learnt to just say “oh, we’ll just wait and see”; because the guides clearly knew what they were doing, it was just us that were confused and bewildered from the many messages that didn’t mean what they seemed to mean… actually a plus in the tour once I realized I could relax and it wasn’t necessary for me to understand their messages…
6. After Halong Bay we stayed a night in our Lucky room again. Out for a meal and enjoying peace and quiet in our room.
Next day we were to travel by train 8 pm until 1 pm following day, to Danang, and then bus one hour to Hoi An.
So we packed and left our luggage at the hotel, went out and found lunch in the fantastic White Lotus, then spent an hour in bicycle taxis around Huan Kiem Lake and around the French quarter, so peaceful to be in the scary Hanoi traffic in that slow motion bike sofa… both my little kids fell asleep one on each side of me there, people on the pavements and on scooters smiling at the sight of us…
Oh my God! I inserted photos from the phone!!
I couldn’t do that last time, in the post about Thailand.
Like I said, if you befriend me, there are many photos to see on my facebook wall. Lene Kaltwasser Henriksen. I accept strangers into my facebook circle as long as they are not spambots, and they behave politely. I have unfriended 2-3 people through the years of this practice, but the rest have proven to be real, and polite people, so. I enjoy getting to know new people. Send me a message along with the request and all is fine.
Where was I? Oh yeah, on that rickshaw.
We stopped at an ice cream cafe by the lake, then went into a shopping center and bought loads of foodstuffs, took a rickshaw back to Lucky ansd got our luggage and they called for a taxi. At the train station two men offered to help with suitcases, and off to the right traon we went.
7. The night train was great. Kids climbing on the bunk beds, making up games together. Lovely sounds and movements, this old train had. And exciting landscapes, water buffaloes and buikdings floating by our window. We slept well and ate all our fruits and sandwhiches and strange sweets…
8. Now we are here in Hoi An. Very hot after just 22 degrees in Hanoi. The homestay lets us borrow bikes, so soon now we’re off to the beach, 15 minutes bike ride from here. Later into the old town for dinner. 10 minutes in opposite direction.
The breakfast is included, and it is the best one we have had in Vietnam so far. Even fresh milk for the coffee, instead of that cream sirup from tins most use.
Fresh fruits, pancakes in different versions, eggs, noodles and rice, toast with cheese, dishes to order, juice…
It really lifts the day to start off on such a lovely meal.
I will find theirnfacebook page and give them some praise and share their link on my wall.
Right. Gotta dip into that pool now, I’m boiling. Not sure biking to the beach will be a pleasure with the traffic and the heat. Prefer a taxi. But my husband is Danish and sporty, I doubt he will agree now he finally gets to ride a bike again, hahaha…. some times we just divide. i take a rickshaw, and he walks. The kids choose who to go home with.
Yeah… so many things I could talk baput, inspired by this trip. But now I need to cool off.