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April 29, 2006 – A journey to Hanoi, Vietnam in Asia

Annoying Hanoi

Landed in a city that's almost completely opposite of the towns we've just passed through. LP SE Asia was right on about Viet Nam (in general) being a shock to one's senses (though not necessarily a culture shock to me as similarities can be seen in cities in China. Or is it?).

Hanoi, the country's capital, turned out to be busy, claustrophobic, noisy, with many motorbikes, mopeds, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians running everywhere on not too wide streets. Crossing the street through the organized chaos took a bit of time to get used to. It's like China in a sense, but the streets in Hanoi are much more narrower.

oncoming traffic

crossing the street

political billboard and a sea of organized chaos

Then there are the vendors that are always trying to rip you off. Had to deal with the Internet cafes that overcharged the hourly rate by 3-4 times, to the overpricing of the already priced items in the menus at restaurants (they hope you won't catch it), to the taxis with the broken "running" meters (price goes up a bunch every two seconds till you reach your destination), to the laundry to the markets, and even the street food. It maybe only a few quarters to a few dollars, but it does add up and does get really annoying after awhile. It's not necessarily the loss of money that makes you feel bad, but the feeling you get after you leave the vendor. Never felt so annoyed from being consistently taken advantaged of. And I mean 24/7. I feel like quite a few people here see foreigners as a walking bank.

Right off, Hanoi left a bad taste in my mouth and made me miss the peacefulness and quietness of their neighboring country Lao and the friendliness of the people in Thailand. Oh well, if every country was the same, then there'd be no point in traveling. Then the world would be a very boring place. Guess it's better to see than to be in the dark.

I just hope the days and future cities can only be better. It's interesting how quickly one's opinion can change from observing the country from a bus or boat window to actually immersing oneself in just one of the cities.

Sigh. Just letting off some steam...

water puppet show was cool for half an hour, an hour is too long but good enough to keep kids entertained for awhile

gotta try the Cha Ca (it’s a specialy type of fish found only in Hanoi) on Cha Ca La Vong Street – go to the original restaurant, #14

visit the Ho Chih Minh Mausoleum and surrounding grounds, quite interesting

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