So we’re back in this crazy city! This time we’ve actually taken time to do a few more things and we’ve discovered dominoes pizza and KFC because lets face it we have spent the last 2 weeks eating rice, noodles and all kinds of different meat. The meat could’ve had 2 legs or 4, been from the river or a farm, sometimes it was impossible to tell its origin but provided a good topic of conversation, and to be fair normally tasted alright and was at the very least edible.
We checked into the funky Jungle hostel and its really cool we’re in a dorm with a load of german girls and they’re pretty sound.
The hostel has 2 hours of free beer so we didn’t waste much time in sampling that! We booked hettie in where we brought her from to have a complementary service and oil change and relaxed into this magical city. I must say the first time I was here I wasn’t that sold on Hanoi but its grown on me. As i’m writing this we have been here nearly a week and i’ll be sad to leave. It was the weekend this time so we got to walk down to the night market and see what thats all about, its crazy. You cannot move for people and its a mission just to get down the street, Joe brought some sunglasses and we wondered around for our first evening. There were alot of prom/weddings – we’re not really sure what was going on- photoshoots which were quite cool to watch.
The next day after we were well rested we decided to get a little cultural and headed to the International Women’s Museum, there were a few different museums so we had a bit of a choice and this was the one we decided on. It was brilliant and I would recommend it to anyone, stunning displays and we learnt a lot about Vietnamese women and they are some tough cookies. Plus there was loads about farming and the war which Joe enjoyed. My highlight was learning how to tie a traditional headress, it did take us a few goes to get it right.
So with the weekend over we’d booked a bus to Laos to sort our visa out… get your head around this, its cheaper to pay for the bus, the Laos visa, a letter of invitation into Vietnam and a 90 day Vietnamese visa than it is to get a 30 day visa from Hanoi so this was the option we chose. Its a bit extreme nearly 29 hours on a bus all to get off where we started. But the show must go on and we really are enjoying Vietnam so off we headed. All was going smoothly had a nice sleep on the bus to the border and all seemed quite organise. We had to walk from the Vietnam border to the Laos one but its really not the bad about 1k, the only thing was it was pouring with rain. Joe had a coat but I had a vest and the thought of having to get back on that bus for a further 13 hours soaking wet was not very appealing to me. But all in all the process was very smooth getting visa sorted all stamped off. Now we’d been told to get bus 4555 back to Hanoi. We approached and the driver was adamant that the bus wasn’t going to Hanoi… but after we kept asking him he changed his mind and agreed we could get on. Just as we were getting our stamps checked the cheeky bus driver drove off. Not impressed. We had to pay a taxi 200,000dong to chase him down. When we caught up with him same situation; he did not want us on that bus but we convinced him and off we went. There were no seats or beds on this bus so we sat in the corridor still not impressed. Joe was actually sat on the stairs with two vietnamese blokes on his lap for a while. We pulled up at a petrol station 20 minutes later and the bus driver told us we had to get off and wait there for a new bus, by now we were both thoroughly pissed off, but we obliged. Here we met a young girl whose sister worked at the petrol station and she was quite taken with us and keen to practice her english and take our photos! Cut a long story short after an angry phone call to the travel agents a bus picked us up 2 hours later and we arrived back in Hanoi Knackered. But at least the Visa was sorted.
We slept that evening and decided we’d best stay another night due to exhaustion. We’d met a few people at the hostel previously so caught up with them and enjoyed a few beers before heading out to the pirate bar!
I knew it was going wrong when Joe went to the bar for a beer and came back with a bottle of whisky (however he assured me that it was for a very reasonable price) but we met a really nice Australian couple, the woman who owned the bar was lovely too and we had a good night! I even brought you a present Gordo, though i’m still not sure if you can read so don’t know if you’ll see this. We did then decide we’d have to stay another night as Joe got very drunk on the same bottle of whiskey he’d brought that night I was concerned that Hanoi had us now and we’d never leave but onwards and upwards (or downwards) tomorrow. We checked up on Hettie and she is all good to go as well so lets let the adventure continue.