Hanoi Rocks

Yesterday we went to a market in Saigon, the market was essentially an open warehouse filled with a packed maze of various products, clothing, and food. It feels like having a pillow pressed on your face while someone points a blowdryer at you. The vendors tap your arm and ask you what you want, it's a bit aggressive by our standards but no harm or offense is intended or taken. You walk down endless isles, if you can call them that, that have enough room for one person to walk down and they are crowded with people, you are constantly walking sideways as you try to avoid stepping on the vendors that are crouched down eating pho. We get overheated and claustrophobia in a short amount of time and need to get out to the street where the cyclo drivers barrage us with offers for rides. Everyone is trying to make a buck, and the Vietnamese people are tenacious to make a sale they keep coming at you even if you say no, the trick is to ignore or say no about 5 times. There is no peace in Saigon it's a constant pressure of action and is not a place for those looking to relax. I give Saigon 2 or 3 days max I'm on my 4th day and i can't deal anymore, thank god we fly north to Hanoi tomorrow.

In the airport in Saigon there are flat screen TV's blasting videos of little kids singing and choreographed dancing. Emily tells me that this weird type of cutesy stuff is everywhere, now I know why Hello Kitty is huge, I can't help but crack up laughing. Everyone takes cuts just to get to the tram that takes you to the plane, again dog eat dog, pardon the pun.

We arrive in Hanoi with our friend Emily from Room To Read, the flight is great. I must say Asian airlines kick major butt service and qualitywise on American companies. I also make a comment to Emily that I've found the food in Vietnam to be mediocre to bad and the best meal i've had has been on both Eva Airlines and Vietnam Airlines oh and avoid the wine. She insists that can't be right and makes it a mission to prove me wrong. The thing is I've had the Vietnamese version of Italian and western type foods and believe me it aint like ours, I would suggest avoiding anything but western type breakfasts and Vietnamese food although i hear the Indian food is good here too.

On our cab ride into Hanoi from the airport I see a full Hog sliced open on the back of some mans scooter, his insides exposed to the sun. You can see there has been major Japanese investment as modern billboards for Japanese companies pepper the highway into Hanoi. There seems to be a bit more breathing room and things aren't as crowds and crazy as in Saigon but not by much. The air seems to be more smoggier and dirtier if that's possible.

We arrive to our 5 star hotel the Sofitel Metropole it's amazing, problem is we decided to pull a stupid move by assuming we could just check in somewhere without reservations. The hotel says they are full, the hotel offers to call other hotels and the other hotels are full too. I'm beginning to get really upset when I go back to the front desk and decide to take their offer of a one night stay in one room the 3 of us would share and figure out what we will do for our other 2 nights we need. Suddenly 2 perfect rooms become available for all 3 nights we need, we pounce on the offer with great relief. Turns out there are lots of heavy hitters staying here from various countries, one is a prince of somewhere and there are kids in the lobby trying to get his autograph. I go to the gym and next to me in a small room are Asian women doing aerobics to the "Barbie Girl" remix, it's hilarious. We are hungry and go to dinner at a new Vietnamese place in a beautiful huge French colonial house type structure. The food is good for once and like usual the service is exceptional if not a bit overbearing. You see, if you make eye contact with an employee they think you need something its almost as if they are waiting to fix something at a seconds notice it can make you a bit nervous so I tune it out. We walk back from the restaurant a good 8 blocks and run into the ending of some sort of festival. Everyone is leaving the way we are heading so it feels like we are salmon swimming upstream. Everyone stares at Jess and Emily who stick out like aliens, we finally get back to the hotel and decide to call it a night.

Comments

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Kim said…
SOUNDS RAD
missing you...

-kim
W. David said…
Yo Dude:
I think it's pretty darn cool you're getting SPAM comments. Kimster and I were just talking about you and (hate to say it) miss you and Jess.

Peace,
Biggy Barnes
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