Two more days in Hanoi

Our trip in Sapa ended in a bit of a close call as we almost missed our bus. We were told to wait in the hotel as someone was supposedly picking us up, which did not happen in the end so we had to rush down to the bus and just about made it.Β 
I love Vietnam and so far I have had an amazing time but I have found two things that I really don’t like, the first being the busses and their drivers. In the cities the traffic can be described like water and you, the pedestrian, is a rock and the water jut goes around you. This is true especially for the mopeds and small cars. However the problem are the busses. The right of way here is not decided by any rule but by the amount of risk a driver is willing to take, which meant that the buses have turned into the big bad bullies of the road. If a road has four lanes (two each way) the busses we have been on have used all 4 for driving, often forcing the traffic from the other side to brake or move to the side of the road. Plus the bus drivers we have met have not been very nice, shouting at the passengers, honking unnecessarily and forcing other cars of the road. Not only are they risking their own life but that of the passengers as well. The road accident death rate is extremely high and I believe they are partially to blame. Finally one of them refused Harry to enter the bus and shut the door in front of him, for no apparent reason, only after asking another guy was he let on the bus. Of course what I have described is only based on the evidence I have gathered on the few bus journeys I have been on and is not representative of all bus drivers in Vietnam.
Our hostel in Vietnam had 1 hour of free beers from 6-7 which we made full use of and then we found a place that sold beers for about 25cent, during this we met a variety of people, one of whom had a bed in the same dorm as us and coincidentally also came from Braunschweig. One interesting thing that happens occasionally when you sit outside of a bar in Hanoi is that your waiter will make you stand up and take away the chairs and tables and sometimes even the beer in a matter of seconds. This is because the police drive around and theses bars often don’t have the right licences to sell after a certain time of day. Once the police has gone the waiters return with the furniture and hand you back your ‘bai’.
We decided to go for a walk around and see some more of the sights. Heading to the statue of the Lenin, which we had visited before and on the way we passed a war museum which had a display of war machinery outside. The three of us had a look at the B52s, French guns and tanks which where put on display next to the usual propaganda mentioning the exact figure of imperialist planes shot down by each regiment of glorious freedom fighters. After this we climbed the flag tower, from which we had a nice view and where we decided to go to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum. This structure was only a short walk away on which we saw a lot of the embassies. I always find it very interesting where a country puts other countries embassies. Eastern European states, Germany and a lot of central and southern American states (all the countries that had been part, or allies of the USSR) all had prime embassy locations in the area around Lenin park, while Britains embassy was on the other side of town next to the Algerian one far away from the political heart of Hanoi. The Mausoleum was stunning, there was a huge square around it with lots of open space, which was nice as this is something you don’t see a lot in Hanoi, and a very well kept lawn. It was very empty that day as nobody was allowed inside, which was a shame but it was still an impressive structure to look at from the outside (modelled after Lenins Mausoleum). After this we walked to the Vietnamese government building (the National Assembly), apparently in a place we weren’t allowed in as a security guard chased us out (same thing happened in to german Bundestag back when I was doing an internship there, tourists always thought they could wander in). All in all the government complex looked like most around the world, big roads, big spacey areas and hardly any people.
Back in the hostel we packed our bags for the next trip. Ha long Bay.
I mentioned that there are two things I don’t like about Vietnam, and the second thing is the way rubbish is dealt with here. There are no bins anywhere and rubbish is everywhere. I am aware that the whole recycling is a fairly recent thing and hasn’t reached this area yet, but it is still unpleasant to see people throw stuff everywhere. Even in a nice restaurant things like napkins and muscle shells are thrown on the floor, by customers and waiters alike. On our hike in Sapa the locals threw all their trash in the mountains and even the wealthy educated business man from Hanoi threw his water bottle in some mountain creek.


6 thoughts on “Two more days in Hanoi”

  1. Very impressive that you are finding the time and inclination to write about your travels. Would love to see the ‘tidying up’ to dodge the licensing laws!
    PS. It’s ‘buses’ not ‘busses’ πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ! The bay was stunning.
      Shop owners etc. do clean in front of their property, however they will also burn the trash on the street as well. (I suppose they have no other option).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh man, that stuff they are burning in front of their shops and houses isn’t trash. It’s a religious ritual – they burn offerings to the spirits by the end of the lunar month. They burn money, paper filled with prayers, lottery tickets and so on.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am aware that the little fires are ceremonial, but the ones in big barrels ? Il try an attach a photo of one I took in hoi an.


      3. Ok πŸ™‚ Don’t get me wrong – I’ve spent over a month in Hanoi, mostly in Ba Dinh and Cau Giay and I’ve never seen the locals burning trash. Maybe in the countryside it happens… I’d love to see that 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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