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Showing posts from September, 2009

23rd September - Hanoi

Got back to Hanoi at 5am this morning after upgrading our train journey back from Sa Pa. The hard beds in hard sleeper were just too much to handle so for the princely sum of $5 each we upgraded to the much more luxurious soft sleeper class.

It was worth it. There was a western style toilet, soft beds and only four people to a cabin. We had one other person in ours, a Vietnamese Princess no less... Ok well she may not have been a bonafide princess but she certainly acted like one the trumped up little madam. She breezed into the cabin without saying a word to either of us and put down her pink and white leather holdall, took off her matching pink and white trainers and proceeded to spend the next hour on the phone.

She then went to sleep without so much as a glance in our direction. Oh well, we got on with enjoying our journey.

Hanoi wasn't exactly dead at 5am, there were actually a few brave souls taking their morning constitutions. Lots of walkers and joggers and not that many mot…

21st and 22nd September - Sa Pa

On Monday 21st September Tal and I embarked on our big trekking day. 12km in all which is less than I've done before but when we saw the rain in the morning we knew we had a bit of a challenge ahead.

Hung met us at the hotel and he still had not been paid his wages by his boss. He and I went to bargain for a raincoat as mine had been lost during the trip. I managed to get a real North Face rain coat for 12 pounds... result. It rained all day on the trek and the rain coat did it's job very well.

It's really funny how trekking works here in Sa Pa. You get these shadows that follow you on your trek. They're the local tribe women who want to sell you stuff but they just sort of hang around you and it takes a good 30 or 40 mins of them following before they finally go for their sales pitch. So you kind of stop to take photos and they stop too. You then set off to walk again and they follow about two paces behind you.

From Hanoi and Sa Pa

From Hanoi and Sa Pa

From Hanoi and Sa …

18th to 20th September - Hanoi and Sa Pa

So, after an interesting and slightly bumpy ride on Laos Airlines, we arrived in Hanoi.... The taxi driver wanted to drop us off at all of his families hotels (of course) but we had a destination. We got to the old town and ended up staying at the Hanoi Palace Hotel which was plush compared to our previous residences.

Tal and I went for a walk and were wowed by just how many motorbikes there are in Hanoi. Also, the place is so crowded and people just down seem to like tourists. It's very odd.

We walked around the lake and ended up at a posh restaurant. The food was good but we were glad to get back to the relative sanity of the hotel. We were tired and needed sleep.

From Hanoi and Sa Pa

The next day we booked our tour to Sa Pa playing almost every tour operator off against each other before getting at least $20 off the initial price. Nice....

Tal and I headed out to explore Hanoi old town during the day. It seemed a little quieter but still had the plethora of killer motorbike drivers…

16th to 18th September - Vientiane

the Capital City of Laos is pretty small. We took the VIP bus (ha ha.... just such a funny name for such a bus) to Vientiane and I was travelling with Steph, Robert and Lawrence (Germany), Emma (UK), Tal (Israel), Thomas and Elsa (Sweden), Dave (Australia), Alex (US) and Martijn and Arwin (Holland).

After the usual, let's walk around for an hour without getting a guest house, we all, strangely enough, individually ended up at The Riverside Hotel. Surprised to see each other there...

That night was a little quiet as we were tired from the journey and the heavens opened. The next morning, we said goodbye to our German (except Lawrence), Swedish and US friends. Again, they were all wonderful people and I truly hope we can stay in touch. Lawrence and I headed for a foot massage. One of the girls working there loved the colour of my skin for some reason and kept smiling over at me saying a word similar to cow which apparently means either white or idiot in Laos.... I think it means whi…