Thạch Lỗi

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    • Day 3

      First Night in Vietnam: Hanoi Pitstop

      February 4, 2023 in Vietnam ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

      By the time I got into my last plane on this ticket, I'd been awake - other than a couple of quick cat-naps - for 48 hours! I was that person who demanded my window seat when someone was already sitting in it and asking me to take the isle instead. No way! I earned that window (also near the front) - some bribery for the missed flight - and was in desparate need of some uninterrupted sleep. I tucked in and it was lights out; I don't even remember taxiing or take-off. Just over 2 hrs later I awakened just as we were landing in to a pea soup of thick fog. Kind of scary but it was a smooth landing at Noi Bai International Airport (HAN).

      Customs was fast. A fellow Air Canada refugee gave me the heads-up that Vietnamese customs guards don't take time to smile or say hello. Do not try to make conversation nor joke with them. That proved true. However they sure did take time to scrutinize my papers and compared my passport pic to my face for so long I started to fear I might get deported or imprisoned. Seriously.

      Then suddenly I was spit out into a strage, warm, new world where pretty much no one spoke English and I had neglected to set up my Google Translate with Vietnamese. Rookie mistake! Next task: find Vietnamese money and transportation. Sorting out a cab was just too hard in spite of all the text-help from Naila who was now a well-seasoned SE Asian traveler. I opted to walk instead as it was within a couple of km. Good shoes and a comfy backpack for the win.

      Before I left home, a friend told me I should practice for SE Asia by crossing the Lewvan without stopping. Just dodge through the cars sowly and make eye contact. (For my Toronto peeps - it's kind of like Kingston Rd but not at rush hour. For my mountain friends, think 16th Ave.) He was right. So on my first day in Vietnam, after traveling 36 hours and being awake for 48hr, I had to get across 12 lanes. Fortunately there was a median and it was getting late, so it was only slightly terriying. I did not go slowly nor make eye contact. I waited for a small break and ran for my life. Naila said if you run it screws up the tempo and that's how to get hit by a car. Sheesh!!

      I found my little hotel, the HD House. A king bed and private bath was a real luxury for the equivalent to $20. Interesting fact - the shower in hotel bathrooms here are just set into the wall of te bathroom. No separate area. No shower curtain. Kind of brilliant as every time someone showers, the entire bathroom gets cleaned. 😆

      The front-desk guy, who spoke no English, walked me down the street to a good place for dinner where no one spoke English. A big plate of veggie fried-rice and giger soup was soooo tasty and cost the equivalent of $2.75. On the way I waved at a few kids and they proceeded to grab my leg under the fence while I ate and I grabbed for their hands with chop stix. Totally cracked me up. It did not crack up their guardians so that was the end of that.

      Satisfied that my belly was full and proud that I had survived the first 2 hours, I crawled into my rock-hard bed and slept like a stone.
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    • Day 93

      Abschied nehmen

      March 20 in Vietnam ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

      Nach mehr als einem Monat in Vietnam fällt der Abschied schwer. Auch von Michael und Oktopus müssen wir uns wieder verabschieden. In Hanoi gehen wir noch einmal fein Essen, trinken einen liebevoll verzierten Eggcoffee in unserem Lieblingscafe und lassen das bunte Treiben auf uns wirken.
      Das Airporthotel überrascht mit extra breitem Bett und großem Badezimmer mit nobler Badewanne.
      Am Flughafen in Bangkok gibt es noch ein Treffen bevor sich unsere Wege wieder trennen.
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    • Day 33

      Last day in Vietnam

      October 31, 2017 in Vietnam ⋅ 🌙 19 °C

      After breakfast we left on the tender to go and explore the "amazing" and "surprising" cave. 100 steps later we were at the mouth of the cave before descending into and through the three chambers. Although it was beautiful, it was slightly ruined by the snake of people and multitude of coloured lights, our tour guide explained it was discovered in 1901 by fishermen but now has thousands of people visit it each day. We returned to our cruise to check out and watch a cooking demonstration for fried spring rolls where we both got to roll our own. We had lunch including what we had all made as the boat headed back to the harbour. Again, although the scenery was gorgeous, we saw evidence of the damage the number of boats were causing such as rubbish and dead fish in the waters around us. We hope that despite the demand, tourism doesn't destroy such a beautiful place.
      Once back on land we faced the four hour transfer back to Hanoi. We were pleasantly greeted by the hotel we had previous stayed at (Hanoi Stella Hotel) who gave us a drink and looked after our bags whilst we went to find a coffee and doughnut. A taxi picked us up and took us to our last hotel of the trip. It's a simple airport hotel, but the staff were very friendly and the food was cheap. We are just finishing packing up ready for our horrendously long journey onto New Zealand starting with our first flight at 9am tomorrow.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Thạch Lỗi, Thach Loi

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