(Written July 20, 2015)
I’m sitting at a cafe streetside, drinking vietnamese iced coffee and watching the mayhem that is Hanoi fly by.
All my worries about this trip have been abated. The wonderful receptionist at my hotel, Anna, sat down with me to look at my itinerary and figure things out. She booked me train tickets to and from Sa Pa, as well as a 3 day trip to Ha Long bay, and my plane ticket down to danang. They will have a room for me to shower and rest in for free in between these excursions. I will probably be off the grid/no wifi for the few days I’m in ha long, since it’s on a junk boat, so don’t panic if you don’t hear from me during that (25th-27th July).
Today I went to the temple of literature, which was very beautiful and had water gardens with lotus flowers and giant mangrove trees and bonsai. It was built in 1070 and renovated a few times since then. Then I went to the Ho Chi Minh museum. His body is in Russia right now to get some “work” done, so I didn’t see that, but the museum was pretty educational even though (I suspect) it was filled with more propoganda than history.
I’m going to spend the rest of the day walking around the old quarter and trying not to get hit by a motorcycle, then find some bia hoi (a type of beer brewed daily at street cafes) and just keep people watching. Tomorrow im going to the museum of ethnology to learn more about the indigenous peoples of vietnam. Wednesday night I’ll be catching a train to sa pa, and *should* have wifi there, but we’ll see.
The weather is nice here, hot but not unbearable and a bit overcast. It smells like rain.