August 13, 2007

Vietnam: August 5th Hanoi

Got the late morning flight from a damp Hue back to a hot and sunny Hanoi, took a taxi into town to the Hotel Thuy Thien in teh Old Quarter. This was taken as a cheap option just a one night stay, but to be honest it wasn't a great choice. At first glance the room was fine, but gradually, the smell of drains began to permeate the room from the bathroom, and by the evening it was pretty strong. However, there were no other rooms available, so it was a matter of grin and bear it for one night.

Of course, for most of the daytime and evening time I was out exploring the city some more. I enjoyed mooching around the Old Poster shop with the colourful propaganda messages urging greater productivity on farms and other such socialist messages as well as some older posters of the war era. After shopping it was back to the hotel to freshen up a bit, though I ended up getting stuck in the lift for 15 minutes or so, which wasn't fun.

In the evening, it was off to a restauarant-bar called '69', which is in restored old Vietnamese house on Ma May in the Old Quarter. The decor was great and the food was delicious. I had seafood spring rolls followed by a dish called Hanoi Cha Ca, which was fish boiled in a soup over a charcoal burner with spring onions and dill, served with rice noodles and peanuts. Really nice. The only problem with '69', though, was that the service was painfully slow, mainly due to the fact that they were understaffed, and it was clearly too much for one waitress, who after forgetting a few orders, decided to have a sit down on the floor in the centre of the restaurant while the other two ran around frantically.

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