Friday, 6 January 2012

Vietnam part 1!

My Lao Airlines flight had been changed to later in the afternoon, and now that I've checked my flight back has also been pushed later. There wasn't a way for me to check on the flight until I got to the airport but it looks like all the schedules have changed on the 1st of January. There was no notification about this, so I just had to wait for three more hours in the airport. I wasted time at the West Coast restaurant in the airport, which has the same logo as the West Coast Eagles, I should get a photo next time I go through. Oh, and the Tuk Tuk driver ripped me off of course, welcome to the world of not having your own transport.

Then there was the simple process of going through immigration, no one was at customs, and then trying to find where to get my next flight to Danang. That flight was delayed about an hour, but it was still scheduled for the same time at least. Then everyone crowds the gate to get on the plane the quickest, but you get loaded onto a bus first which takes you over to the plane which is parked away from the terminal.

Finallay, Danang! It looks like this:

Rough seas today...

I was staying in a hotel near the beach, but in a very isolated part of Bac My An beach. I'm not sure where "China Beach" starts or ends, but I guess it's resort area which was about 1km south of there. There is a lot of construction going on around the place so there will be hundreds of hotels there soon.

And then Jaye and Voula arrived after their tour through Vietnam, and along with another hotel guest, James, we started exploring this strange town. First stop, Han Market:

Most of the packaged food stalls. Upstairs was clothing and shoes, and  towards the back was the fresh food and fish stalls.


Vegetables, boo!

The traffic just outside the market. It's bikes everywhere here. Everywhere.

Panorama of the river.
After the markets Voula had stopped at a stall to buy some cards, but then I noticed afterwards that the lady in the stall was getting her blood pressure checked. I decided to hang around and get mine checked too by the crazy Vietnamese street doctor!

She said it was 120/70, which is normal... Then I wondered about her qualifications. 
Some of the items the in the stall that lady was selling. I thought it "Exciting water" due to the picture (which I pixelated for those at work :D), until James pointed out that it was actually Exiting, now I don't know what it's for.

Weird shop names.

Traffic at one intersection.

Moments later...

Bikes bikes bikes.

Bridge bikes. Jaye, Voula and James over there on the left.
Then finally it was time to head back to Hanoi so we could travel to Halong Bay. Inside the airport we found this:

Why is this here? In Danang Airport?
Blue Sky Brewery is a brewery in Cairns. They're the ones that gave me food poisoning when I was in Cairns last time and vowed never to go back (and now this is a search result for this particular outlet, it's not a review). I guess I didn't break that rule because I didn't go back to the Cairns one, but I did need some beer that wasn't from south east asia.

We arrived in Hanoi quite late, I got to my hotel at midnight which was just down the road from Jaye and Voula's more expensive hotel. They said their toilets were smelly, mine just smelled of clean (before I used it). I won the hotel challenge with a cheaper non smelly hotel, and with a better included breakfast.

In the morning we wandered round Hanoi's Old Quarter to have a look at the sights, while avoiding getting run over. I didn't take too many photos along the way, but here are some:

Selling Oranges from a bike. Note the exceptional focus in this photo...

Pansy coffe! Obviously, I could not enter because I am not a pansy.

Another variety of people trying to sell you things.

Dong Xuan Market. This was busy with small little isles. You had to push through, I managed to get a few elbows into the backs of people after being annoyed at all the shoving.

Part of the famous little bridge on Hoan Kiem Lake.

Because the other half had a tarp over it...
And then it was time to get into the car we hired to take us to Halong bay. The hotel told us about two to three hours to get out there but it ended up taking four, and everyone was quite annoyed with sitting in a car for that long. Once we got to Halong city we had a hotel we were going to try, but it was all locked up and the lights were off as we arrived, but then they started opening it all up as soon as we got out. We seem to be the only people staying here! I have a view of the bay outside my window, but it's very cloudy still. Hopefully the weather clears up later as we're going on a boat trip around the islands later.

More photos later...

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