August 09, 2007

Vietnam: August 1st Tokyo-Hanoi

After some last minute preparations it was off to Narita mid-afternoon to catch the early evening flight to Hanoi. It was a blistering hot day in Tokyo (with the rainy season officially declared finished at long last), and yet I was heading off to a country in the middle of their wet season. I was wondering if it could actually be more humid than in Tokyo.

The flight was very smooth arriving on time. After a very thorough passport check (mine is neither biometric or machine readable, which is actually something of an inconvenience these days), I was quickly through customs and into the arrivals hall where I quickly found the pick up driver booked by the hotel. Contrary to what was suggested in my guidebook, the airport wasn't crawling with dodgy taxi touts (though maybe that was just because it was quite late).

The driver was, I later found out, a typical Vietnamese driver, driving with one hand firmly on the wheel and the other hovering over the horn ready to klaxon any second. Junctions were dealt with by ever-so-slightly lifting the foot off the gas and with one hand repeatedly sounding the horn as we sped through. Overtaking was done in a similar fashion ~ driving right up the exhaust pipe of the car in front horn blaring and flashing his headlights until the driver in front was sufficiently intimidated or irritated to move out of the way.

After approximately half an hour of this he drew into the Old Quarter of Hanoi and headed to the Hotel Camellia 4, a budget hotel that looked fine enough from its website ~ cheap and clean looking spacious rooms and the promise of a view of the Old Quarter. Seeing that it was after 11pm by this stage the view would have to wait until the morning.

No comments:

Post a Comment