and the start of Vietnam.
03.04.2012 - 06.04.2012 -30 °C
So one of the joys, the pleasures if you will with flying as cheaply as possible is that once in a while you have a long lay over on flights between destinations. I mean I have heard of nightmare 30 hours stuck in airports and no visa to go to the city luckily mine was not that bad. I had 7 hours in Bangkok airport, the joys of Thailand is that being British you get a free visa, you turn up and they let you in with no questions for 30 days. Which meant that my plans of to enter Bangkok and explore for a couple of hours and return for my flight with another city ticked off the list. The problem started with the fact that I can't sleep on planes, I don't understand how anyone in there right mind can sleep sitting up for when I turned up to Bangkok airport I had been awake for 24 hours and was in no mood to explore anything except the inside of my eyelids. So for 7 hours I sat in the Airport nodding off and jolting awake to terror of being robbed or kick out of the airport and not being allowed back in. I finish the remaining of the time sitting in the departure lounge drinking red wine and talking to a bored looking barman!
So after many hours of travelling, many years of planning and thinking about and the addition of a watched top gear episode I have arrived in Vietnam and from the very start it does not disappoint. From the moment I step out of the Terminal and walk towards the bus I am almost hit by a motorbike. When I arrive in the city centre it becomes even worse and when I go to cross the road I work out the the Green Cross Code goes completely out of the window in a country like this. The best bit advise I got was the best way to cross a road is to shut your eyes and walk at the same speed, not that I was willing to shut my just took a massive step and kept walking while the bikes flew around you like standing in a stampede! And before I knew it I was on the other kerb -sidewalk for the American's out there- unsure how I got through alive!
After a walk around the city I find a hostel, the Hanoi Central Backpackers to be exact, the one that happens to have an hour of free beer -a luck coincidence- and decide that it is probably time to get a little sleepy. But of course like all the best plans of mice and men it is ruined by the introduction of a Welshman called Endaf pronounced En-dav and an invite to beer. To no one surprise I fell a sleep after 42 hours of being awake fully clothes -including my shoes!
The next couple of days are spent exploring this new capital which I believe is either designed on a maze or is actually forever changing as I have never got so lost in my life. An endless supply of twisting alleyways and tight streets. All with a hundred motorbikes and shoppers. The colours and sounds are music that plays along with the movie which is everyday life. On every street corner people sit and drink iced coffee and smoke cigarettes or enjoy a beer. This city has a very Asian feeling to it and in it's own way creates peace from madness. The beer that I am talking about is a fresh beer called Bia Hoi and weighs in at around 3%, it is a daily brewed beer at cost from 10p-30p a glass. It is a light and refreshing beer, it is also a good why of chatting to the locals and watching the world go by.
I can safely say that I was very taken by the city of Hanoi and would recommend anyone to go there and experience it for themselves!