Hanoi-ed by Typhoon Haiyan – November 8 – 11

Our week in Vietnam was filled with adventure.  Four days in Hanoi, two in Halong Bay and two in Ho Chi Minh city.  Not exactly our original plan, but considering the damage and loss that the typhoon created for so many in this part of the world, we are very grateful that we were safe and able to continue on our journey.

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   The first thing to know about Hanoi is that the traffic is insane and the air is very smoggy.  There are 6 million people here and more than 4 million motor bikes.  Crossing the street is not for the faint of heart. Having said that, these folks really know how to drive so you just walk into the traffic and they will go around you.

The first thing to know about Hanoi is that the traffic is insane and the air is very smoggy.  There are 6 million people here and more than 4 million motor bikes.  Crossing the street is not for the faint of heart. Having said that, these folks really know how to drive so you just walk into the traffic and they will go around you.

Team SE Asia at HCM Mosoleum.JPG
The second thing to know is that this is a communist country.  And, Ho Chi Minh (who is considered the great liberator of this nation) is revered.  So much so that when he died in 1969, they embalmed his body and built this huge mausoleum where people can go (and they do…every day…by the thousands) to see his body lie in state.  They also have built a museum-style tour of his residences so after you wait for hours in line to see his body (which we did), you can wait for more hours in line to walk around his former houses (ditto).  They have even saved his cars so you can see them in his former garage. (check and check).

The second thing to know is that this is a communist country.  And, Ho Chi Minh (who is considered the great liberator of this nation) is revered.  So much so that when he died in 1969, they embalmed his body and built this huge mausoleum where people can go (and they do…every day…by the thousands) to see his body lie in state.  They also have built a museum-style tour of his residences so after you wait for hours in line to see his body (which we did), you can wait for more hours in line to walk around his former houses (ditto).  They have even saved his cars so you can see them in his former garage. (check and check).

Photo ops are big.jpg
Make up artist for photo op.JPG
In Hanoi, they also love the staged photo op.  Everywhere we went (p.s. in fairness, this seems to be a running theme throughout SE Asia) there were young women having formal pictures taken to mark whatever important occasion was happening in their lives…birthday, engagement, graduation, marriage.  This is a great town for make up artists and professional photogs

In Hanoi, they also love the staged photo op.  Everywhere we went (p.s. in fairness, this seems to be a running theme throughout SE Asia) there were young women having formal pictures taken to mark whatever important occasion was happening in their lives…birthday, engagement, graduation, marriage.  This is a great town for make up artists and professional photogs

water puppet 1.JPG
Seeing some ancient Vietnamese puppetry (the traditional water puppet show) was also part of our experience.  It’s hard to explain, but we all agreed it was unlike anything we’d ever seen before.  And, for an extra $1.00 you are allowed to take photos during the show.  Hmmm

Seeing some ancient Vietnamese puppetry (the traditional water puppet show) was also part of our experience.  It’s hard to explain, but we all agreed it was unlike anything we’d ever seen before.  And, for an extra $1.00 you are allowed to take photos during the show.  Hmmm

Team SE Asia cyclo ride.JPG
After our daylong city tour, we took a cyclo ride.  This is the modern day version of the rickshaw.  Honestly, this was both terrifying (because we were in the middle of all the traffic) and eye opening.  Seeing the city at street level gave us a great appreciation for how hard people work and how truly difficult life is here for so many

After our daylong city tour, we took a cyclo ride.  This is the modern day version of the rickshaw.  Honestly, this was both terrifying (because we were in the middle of all the traffic) and eye opening.  Seeing the city at street level gave us a great appreciation for how hard people work and how truly difficult life is here for so many

Annie Michael ling bing.JPG
Boat 1.JPG
With time to fill and bad weather on the way, we took another day tour (along with several thousand other tourists who were stuck in Hanoi).  This time to the former capital, Ninh Binh, located about 2.5 hours outside the city.  They call this the “inland” Halong Bay and it does have pretty amazing views.         Coming up next…Halong Bay.

With time to fill and bad weather on the way, we took another day tour (along with several thousand other tourists who were stuck in Hanoi).  This time to the former capital, Ninh Binh, located about 2.5 hours outside the city.  They call this the “inland” Halong Bay and it does have pretty amazing views. 

 

Coming up next…Halong Bay.