Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hello Hanoi!

So, I'd foolishly booked an early flight to Hanoi, leaving Bangkok at 7am, without first thinking of the logistics of getting to the airport. This, of course, meant setting my alarm clock for 4am, actually waking up at 4am, checking out of my hostel, spending ten minutes in a sleep deprived state haggling with taxi drivers who were unwilling to put their meter on to take me to the airport, and then getting to the airport with enough time to be checked in by 6am.

This was not fun.

Fortunately, I had the good sense to pre-organise a hotel transfer from Hanoi airport, as I was getting pretty fed up with taxi drivers by this stage, and the hotel was even kind enough to check me in early, at about 10am. Naps ensued, followed by spending the day wandering around the Old Town of Hanoi.

Hanoi definitely made an impression right from the start. I don't know if it was the colourful narrow streets, the bustle of busy shop owners, or the fact that I was in a much more bearable climate without the heat and humidity of the previous week and a half, but I felt much happier in this city - it just felt full of life. Yes, I got ripped off by a nice old lady selling donuts out of a basket, but the donuts were good, as was the Bun Cha that I had later in the day.

That evening, I went on a street food tour of the city, and discovered the wonders of Banh Cuon, Banh Mi (of the miniature variety), milk fruit (wow!), various barbecued things, and ended the evening with an intriguing coffee that had a meringue-like topping made from whipped egg white. It was interesting, but I don't think I'd have it again.