|Pretty sad to leave Laos - such a chilled out, laid-back country - i loved it! Really didn't see enough but again, another country i will come back to...the list is now getting very very long..ha ha!!
Decided against the 30hour bus trip to Hanoi (am done with journies like that for now and need to make most of time i have left on seeing more as opposed to more "adventures" on horrendous buses with animals as well as people, which by all accounts is what it would have been!) so i treated myself to the 1-hour flight instead...a real luxury! Met a couple of dutch girls on the plane, Nanda & Marleen and another English guy Ashley, who i spent the next few days travelling with.
Vietnam is already worlds away from Laos. Hanoi is a loud, dirty, noisy capital city - horrendous traffic and more scooters than i have ever seen, constantly honking their horns. a bit stressful to say the least! There doesn't seem to be any driving rules at all, everyone just goes for it...i think they are supposed to drive on the right hand side but it's hard to tell sometimes! Crossing the road is the hardest thing, at first we were just waiting on the pavement for ages trying to cross, then realised we would be waiting a long long time and watched how the locals do it...just walk... yes straight out into about 12 lanes of scooters and they all drive around you...very scary! so first few attempts i ran across screaming with my eyes closed and got shouted at a few times and whistles blown at me by the policemen (they like doing that a lot anyway, very strict about where you can and can't walk!) as was much more dangerous...but eventually you just get used to just walking out in front of all the traffic and yes they do all drive around you, is amazing! but dont think will be trying it on the roads in england as will surely get killed!
Spent a couple of days here sightseeing, but is hard work as the heat is just too much for me. is over 35degrees every day and the humidity is just unbearable. so after 10mins of walking you're dripping with sweat (attractive) and just need to stop in an a/c cafe or bar or go back for cold shower, so is hard to get much done or have energy to do things all the time! ...had to take a few cyclo taxi's instead of walking is also a good way to see the city...have no idea how the drivers cope cycling people around all day! Have seen so many cities now too that is hard to be enthusiastic about every new place...am definitely getting tired of travelling! Hanoi is ok but looking forward to getting out and seeing some of the countryside. Am also not impressed by the amount of huge rats i have seen everywhere - some running around the streets and also inside bars, pretty disgusting but again you do get used to it and i dont even jump when i see one close to me anymore....as long as it's not in my bed i dont mind!.....Oh yeah and they eat dogs here - is a speciality apparently - I will not be trying! The first thing I noticed about Vietnam was that there are less street dogs than everywhere else..they obviously eat them all...gross!
Another big tourist attraction in Hanoi is the water puppet theatre shows which we all went to one evening - traditional Vietnamese singing & puppets dancing in the water...pretty impressive but 40minutes of it was definitely enough as didn't really have a clue what was going on - I don't know one word of Vietnamese!
We found a backpackers hostel to stay at here which was really cool and so good to be back in a hostel again after a few weeks of guesthouses & hotels...was even excited to stay in a dorm again, but the novelty definitely wore off after 2 nights of rubbish sleep in crap bunk beds...bring back the private rooms! The rooftop bar was cool though and we did meet loads of other people and drink lots of very cheap Hanoi beers...they do have a lot of plus points!