October 7, 2011 Friday Hue Hanoi

Today is another transit day.  We have breakfast and then ‘do our own thing’ until the bus arrives at 1:30pm for the 35 minute trip to Hue Airport.

Some of us fill the morning in by using the cyclos; others take a trip by pushbike through the old town.  Lyn and I try to get some more ‘color’ by the pool during an overcast morning.

We board the bus after having lunch at the hotel, and enjoy a pleasant flight to Hanoi.  And then it starts again.  We arrive at peak traffic time and the airport is 1 hour from our hotel, the Hilton Hanoi Opera. http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/HANHITW-Hilton-Hanoi-Opera-hotel/index.do?WT.srch=1 There is much of the old town still standing after the American War that dates back to before the 19th century, so it was good the Americans didn’t bomb everything.  What a callous war that was; hundreds of thousands died from American weapons.  It is good to hear from ‘the other side’. War is UGLY!

We find the traffic a little different to Saigon – less organization.  In Saigon, the motorbikes tend to keep to the right of the road and the cars and buses, to the left.  Not in Hanoi.  Motorbikes all over the place, moving to where they want to be at will.  There are 6 million people in Hanoi and 4 million motorbikes.  About 30% are unlicensed.  We see a pillion passenger holding a mobile phone against the rider’s ear and decide that is a “hands-free phone”.

Our tour guide gives us some interesting information.  He tells us that for each account you have, a different person comes to the house with the bill, and requires payment for the service.  That’s one person for the mobile phone bill, one for the land line phone bill, one for the internet bill, one for the electricity, one for the water bill, one for the rates; yes, and you have to have someone at the house with the money in hand to pay the account when they arrive.  If you are not home, they go to your neighbor for the payment; a different way of doing things, indeed.  A minimum mobile phone account is $15 per month to a maximum for a business mobile of $50-60 per month.

Our meal is in the Chez Marion Restaurant at the Hotel.  This is the best set of desserts we have seen on our trip.  We choose the meat from a stand and it is taken away for cooking while we partake of the appetizers.  The cost of the buffet is 750,000 dong each.  $1 is about $20,000 dong.  So for $37, we have a smorgasbord laid on.

Because we didn’t take any photos today, I have included some more of our motorbike ride and more of our visit to the orphanage near Hue.  I hope you enjoy them.  Thanks to those who have left comments.  Yesterday we had over 300 hits to the site.  So it looks like someone is enjoying our trip to Vietnam.  Let us know – we will pass on your comments to our fellow travellers.

Senior’s Moment.  This should be ‘the way we may be in a few years’.  This hotel is considered ‘swish’.  We are assigned to executive suites for the night.  Three couples find that they are being accommodated in ‘twin suites’ including Lyn and myself.  Now, that will be more than a senior’s moment – we are here for 3 nights.  Of course, mention is made at dinner about the ‘oldies’ and their sleeping arrangements.

Author: Colin Spain

The Official Blogger for Grey Nomads Travel and Cruise Group Tours

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