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A New City Smells like a New Car

VIETNAM | Thursday, 13 December 2018 | Views [103]

Going to bed early was a double edge sword. I had a short but restful sleep and entertained myself while Tim slept most of the night. At about 4 am he woke and I tried to sleep but was not very successful.

Tim started the day as he has since arriving, with a delicious bowl of pho. He says it’s the benchmark for all pho. I think it’s because of the 12 hour time change and 6 is usually dinner, so he is hungry.

It does look good, but I‘lol stick to French bread and pate.

I took a nap, then we chatted with our daughter that is fresh out of basic training for the military. Well, fresh out as in a break for Christmas. Only a couple more weeks after the holidays! Stick to it Lex!

We packed our bags and Tim fetched me some beer for our travels. We are off to the north, Hanoi.

The meter cab ride was half the price of the set price we paid into town. During the day however, it took twice as long in traffic.

We arrived to the airport, checked in and relaxed before security. Security was easy by Western standards however, and I hate to say it, there are many people “not accustomed to travelling”. Maybe they just don’t care.

Tim got me a couple beers while we waited, our flight was delayed.

The flight was fine, A319 with way more people than I’ve seen on larger planes. What can you expect for budget flights; at least it was cheap, and I mean cheap! There is no free inflight service, but Tim prepaid for a meal. Not terrible. Beer wasn’t cold.

We arrived in Hanoi, grabbed a cab to our hotel. Old Town Hanoi is significantly different than other places we have travelled. The streets are tight, the smells are intoxicating and there seamed to be no direct route to anywhere you want to go. We arrived to our hotel, checked in and set out for a short adventure. Significantly colder here!

We wondered the streets for a while, just enjoying the new scenery. The atmosphere here is significantly chill compared to Ho Chi Minh.

We took the advice of the hotel and ducked into a popular and slightly overpriced pho restaurant. It was packed and we shared a table with a French dude on a food tour (or date) with a gent from the Philippines.

Happily our steaming bowl of pho arrived. It was very good but both of us believed it to be inferior to others we have had in Vietnam. Tim really enjoyed his “special bowl” with assortments of cuts from the entire cow, but because Hanoi Pho doesn’t come with the normal side herbs and no bean sprouts, it just seemed to lack a textural element. I just thought other broths I had were better…

Our last stop was the St Joseph’s Cathedral. The 18th century, gothic church, actively serves the large Catholics community. Although closed at night, it was a church that rivalled many that we have seen in Belgium and France. Stunning!

 

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