Thursday, October 28, 2010

Two Weeks in Vietnam

I have just sent the old lady and my younger brother back to Sydney after a few weeks in Vietnam. I sent them to Hoi An for a few days where Tim, my little bro, negotiated flood waters with a local expat. They rode through knee deep water on a mission to find a drinking session with a bunch of local policemen. They partied into the early hours. While in Hoi An they went to the local tailors and got suits and shoes made. You can grab a high quality suit for under $100.

Back in Hanoi we cruised around West Lake, visiting cafes on the water and eating away from the noise of the city. We stopped at pagodas and walked the streets near my house. We enjoyed the local Vietnamese coffee, cafe sua da, along with an assortment of Vietnamese specialities. We ate Pho Ga, Bun Cha, Bun Bo Nam Bo, Nem, Banh Cuon, Chau and many others. They were easy guests in that regard as they loved all the food on offer. Surprisingly, Tim's favourite food was Banh My Pate; a simple sandwich.

We went around the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum, Presidential Palace and One Pillar Pagoda. A day was spent walking the streets of the Old Quarter, eating food and buying presents. My Mum bought more in a week than I have in a few years. With silk and lacquer, hand made artifacts and propaganda posters packed away they then took it upon themselves to relax with a well deserved massage. They decided on Just Massage, a company that employees vision impaired staff. They left with glowing reviews.

We visited the Temple of Literature and Craft Link, a handicrafts store aimed at helping the disadvantaged. Tim came and sat in on a few of my classes to see if I had any teaching skills; you will have to check with him as to his thoughts. We rode around the Opera House as well as Hoan Kiem Lake.

Tim was on the bike after a few days and proved a natural. He was able to take the bike on a two hour ride over Long Bien Bridge. We wanted to get out of the city and see some rice fields. The old lady has not been on a trip for about 10 years and handled the hustle and bustle of Hanoi very well.

We did a lot of walking, took countless photo's and ate continuously. We explored a good portion of the city giving the guys a decent feel of life in Hanoi. With only a few days left on the trip I decided to take them to Halong Bay. A relaxing few days seemed the best way to end a two week holiday in busy Vietnam.

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