Day 02 (part 3)
23.03.2009 - 23.03.2009
First objective of the afternoon is to get a tour package for Halong Bay tomorrow. I went to Sinh Cafe to book a tour. There are tonnes of Sinh Cafes in Hanoi, supposedly only one is the original and the others are not, and I supposedly went to the one reportedly to be the original. But in Hanoi, who knows what is real and what is not? Anyway, most likely different companies will just register the customer and put he or her on any boat available for that price range. Whatever. I booked a 2 Days 1 Night deluxe tour to Halong Bay for USD72. It's actually USD55 for one person on a twin-sharing basis, but since I am travelling alone, I have to pay a single person supplement, which amounts to USD17. I felt that this whole single-supplement thing is most unfair, but then what can be done against capitalism? This Halong Bay trip is the single most expensive thing I spent my money on. It's best to travel in pairs for such a tour I suppose.
The supposedly 'real' Sinh Cafe.
I continued my walk all the way till I reach Long Bien, which is north of Hanoi city. Truly a long way! Some scenes along the way:
Hairdressing by the road.
Stalls selling all sorts of stuff.
Vietnamese love birds, both in a plate or in a cage.
Hardworking lady. You see them EVERYWHERE in Hanoi.
It's actually a railway track above.
Do you notice there are actually doors under the elevated road? People are actually staying under the road!
Underneath Long Bien bridge. I would love to take a walk up there but it's out of bounds for pedestrians.
Been wandering about aimlessly and thinking of trying some coffee at Highlands Coffee which I saw this morning opposite the Lenin statue. It's too far to walk back, so bargained with a motor driver to bring me there for 15k Dong. Very friendly man who tried to chat with me on the bike, even though he can't speak a word of English.
As we pass by a certain place, he seems very excited and told me by his body language that "You must see this!". It was a small citadel (something like an old palace) with some trees. We got off the bike, and the motor driver started pointing around trees, saying things I don't understand and keep on giving thumbs up.
This is the Citadel.
And these are the big trees that Mr. Motor Driver got so excited about.
After failing to communicate his thoughts through speech, he started to write. But he wrote in Vietnamese too! I wonder what good can that do. Fortunately a couple came along and they seem very much like American Vietnamese. Anyway they are bilingual and did the translation for us. The man was actually trying to say that the building and trees are nearly 1000 years old, and it is an amazing sight to see such big trees growing on an elevated ground at the building with not much space for the roots to go (I hope you understand what I am babbling about).