Hanoi chill out
I am glad I checked my flight details today. I had misread the time of departure as 1600 where it was actually 0955 tomorrow. The downside was that I had already spent the whole day relaxing and vegging out writing up the last 3 days of blogs. It was evening when the panic started to rise and I had to frantically pack and sort all my stuff out before the pub quiz. I had thought that with my flight at 1600 I could leisurely wake and do my packing and last bits of shopping before swanning over to the airport after lunch. It was not to be and I found myself running around collecting washing, trying to sell the bike, getting dinner, playing the pub quiz, buying a carry on bag, doing the pub quiz challenges and arranging a taxi in the morning with some of the islanders.
One of the things on my to do list had been drop off a Geocache somewhere in Vietnam. (See www.geocaching.com for literally the coolest nerdy thing to do for free) I had found a Trackable in one of the caches in England and decided to give it a boost around the globe. It had been in my bag for the whole trip, occasionally surfacing in my mind. I know it’s a silly 1st world problem to have but I have just been so busy doing cool stuff that I’ve not gotten around to it. Even today, where it was mostly spent administrating my life and catching up on blogging I was too busy to find time. I hang my head in shame that I have not completed my Geocaching mission.
Have no fear because in the omniscient words of Baldrick “I have a cunning plan”. Because of the last minute mental update of my flight details and ensuing madness, I have not sold the bike – damn. So I’m going to give it away to someone on the proviso that they fulfil my caching duty. It’s what the best leaders do, delegate. I didn’t think I would have something so profound to add to the CV after this trip but learning happens throughout life’s experiences. Such as, checking your flight details more than 10hrs before departure…lesson learned.
Camilla and I did take advantage of the free walking tour. We have met so many vietnamese called “Peter” or “John” I’m pretty sure they have just adopted a western name for our benefit. Saying that, the French did occupy their land for a hundered years and introduced Christianity so who knows… A Vietnamese girl called Snow (her name in vietnamese meant snow but was hard to pronounce) took us around the old quarter. She explained that most of the old city wall had been destroyed in the bombing and only one of the smaller entrance gates remained. The government was trying to encourage people to move out of the city to less densly populated areas but people didnt want to leave the profitable old quarter. There could be up to 25 people living in one 6 room house. They dont usually have kitchens because they just cook on the street and all share one toilet. It was a huge insight to their lives comparing it to western living standards. Snow was great, she was a wealth of information and showed us lots of hidden gems. It would be impossible for me to find again but she took us to an amazing coffee bar overlooking the Sword Lake in Hanoi center. I’m now a fan of coffee, after 26 years, it has happened. Well, Vietnamese coffee anyway…
I spent the rest of the day watching movies, eating and blogging – ok so they aren’t all posted yet but most are written (although by the time you read this they will have been… retrospectively in the future tense???) The hostel computers were the dodgiest things I have ever seen. They worked but only because they were entirely held together by tape. The front of the tower was purely aesthetic and the buttons did nothing. Not really a problem until I accidentally knocked the power cable and it turned off. Now I had to try and turn it back on by poking around on the motherboard with a ballpoint pen to find the pins to short to start it up again… ballache.
It was nice to have a recovery day. I had the option of going up to Sapa in the mountains north of Hanoi, it was a place I had really wanted to go but we ran out of time. The journey would have been possible in a day but it would have meant 2 x 6 hour coach rides which is not my idea of relaxing. It’s not a problem however, just a good excuse to come back to this fantastic country. Next time maybe head north for the mountains and small villages before heading into Laos and south? Who knows, but south east asia has so thoroughly wet my appetite, I’m dribbling with excitement to return!
The day was not complete without final drinks in amongst the pub quiz shenanigans. The hostel organisers really know how to get the crowd worked up and in the mood for a party. It was great! Because Mike was still delicate from the castaway 3 day bender, I was doing the drinking and the challenges. Strawpeedo is somethings I’m relatively quick at but I always come second, never first! That’s fine tho because I twerked out the best slut-drop of my life. A girl won that challenge (obvs) but blokes came up and congratulated me on my hips which gave me a weird sense of achievement. The quiz challenges were finished up by Mike under some peer pressure to get sexy on the floor in a sort of show off session. It was the most amazing and hilarious end to a pub quiz I have ever seen. We didn’t win the quiz on points but we did win the team name; “crouching nun, hidden cucumber”
Because of the flight the next day I didn’t follow the pub crawl to the next venue and ended up in bed early. It would have been fine except some drunk girls were in the bed next to me saying the same rubbish storey over and over again. It just went on and on, I didn’t realise how bitchy and two faced girls could be behind each others back. Earlier that night while I was packing they had been pre drinking and getting on fine with the victim of their drunken insults – who knows what had changed but I thought they were all friends! I gave up sleeping, packed some more and went for a long shower. They had passed out by the time I returned thank goodness.