Sunday, 11 May 2008

And that was Hanoi...

And I didn't even go to Ha Long Bay.  Some would say I am crazy, and others would say I am just plain stupid.  But quite frankly, if your having a great time already, why question it.  In Hanoi,  people watching really is king.  From the the street vendors to the cyclos ferrying their chubby tourist clients, to the moped passengers who think it is a good idea to get on a different moped, in motion I might add. 

Sit back and drink some traditional Bia Hoi with the locals and watch the people go by.  It really is that simple to forget all the worries of the world.

And this is a city whose people, at least on the surface, seem content.  The social understanding between Hanoi's inhabitants seems uncomplicated and to the point.  And we in the west might think of places like Vietnam as being at the other end of the earth, (culturally rather than geographically) but not so.  People are simply people.  A walk round Hoan Kiem lake will tell you everything you need to know about the people of Hanoi. There are young couples stealing a kiss while their parents aren't there to scold them, Ice cream vendors doing their best to tempt you, joggers of all ages panting with breath hoping against hope they don't have to go round again and the occasional  squabble round a small table as cards and cash trade hands quickly.  This is pure, unadulterated, uncomplicated life.

Fellows travellers will say 'you better get your tourist hat on a bit'. 

So, get yourself off to see 'Uncle Ho' as he is affectionately known to the Vietnamese.  You'll find him in his resting place within the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.  The father of the revolution who ousted the French is toasted as this nation's creator. He pushed out the colonial oppressors, but also created the socialist  ideology alive in Vietnam today.

Or, head off to the Temple of Literature, where you can find peace within its gardens and pagodas, but also pay your respects to the great teacher himself, Confucius.

I am a fan of history, but far more a fan of people, today.  They are always the most exciting, and in Hanoi you will undoubtedly, find ample excitement. Walk round the Old Quarter, visit Don Xaun Market, eat ice cream on the shore of the lake, jump on a moped, and drink a beer with the locals.

And if you must, visit Ha Long Bay. I can't wait to see your snaps.

1 comment:

priya said...
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