|A leisurely day today, which is easy to do with the slow pace of life in Laos. Got up, had breakfast then meandered into town, to the market. I wanted to get a vest with the "Tubing" motif on it. Asked at the night market last night and the woman hadn't got one in my size but said she would have it by today, so we are off to get it. Got there found the stall and she didnt have it, could we come back this evening? No we couldnt as our flight is at 4pm, so instead of getting a tubing vest I ended up with Beerlao tee shirt. Suppose I spent more time drinking beelao than tubing so its not that bad. Also bought a pair of cheap sunglasses as I had broke my cheap pair a few days ago. As we walked down to the market I approached a tuk tuk driver, which was a first as I am normally fighting them off. Asked his price to take us to the airport, we had been advised in the hotel that 60,000 kip was a fair price, this guy offered to do it for 50,000 kip, this was a day of firsts, an honest tuk tuk driver. We obviously agreed to his price after confirming that was for 2 rather than each, they have tried that one before. After some confusion, we established he would pick us up from the hotel at 2.15pm, that gave us plenty of time to find another if he didnt show up.
We checked out of the hotel at noon, but left our bags there to be collected after we had lunch. We had decided to have lunch at the restaurant oposite the hotel to save Angie walking to far after her accident last night. However when we went to go in we noticed it was closed for a private party, so it was off to search for another. We found a really nice place on the riverside, the Khan river as opposed to the Mekong where we ate last night. The food at the restaurant was good, the beer on the other hand was warm and led me to ccommit the worst of all crimes and put ice in beer (or cider). We had beed offered ice for our beer quite often on the trip, even to the point of the glass coming 90% full of ice to pour the beer into, we through the ice away on that occasion, but this time the ice was needed. We got back from the reataurant to find our tuk tuk man waiting despite it being 15 minutes before our agreed time. We got our bags and off we went, the journey to the airport was just over 5 minutes, as we headed down the long straight road to the airport we could see a plane facing us, as if it was going to use the road we were using, as a runway. We arrived at the smallest airport I have ever been too, not only was it fairly tiny, it wasnt very busy, only 7 flights out of there each day, so I assume the same into the airport. We waited for check in to open (no online check in here) were first in the queue, then it was through security and immigration into the departure lounge, The departure lounge had a small shop selling nik naks,from where Angie bought a light shade, but no refreshments or duty free. We boarded the plane and sat and watched as a group of guys in uniform lined up on the tarmac on the approach to our plane, then people in civvies lined up next to them, we had someone important on our plane obviously. We knew who the important passenger was because he was the only one in a shirt and tie and all the uniformed people saluted him, he also got presented with a bouquet of flowers, although I still have no idea about why he was so important.
After take off the views from the plane were fantastic, similar to the ones we had traveling from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang, but this time ariel views of the same sort of landscsape. I spent most of the flight staring out of the window in awe of the scenery.
The hotel had sent a taxi to meet us at the airport and that worked well it took us nearly and hour to get from the airport to the hotel. I paid the driver the $15 plus tip when he dropped us off, then discovered when I got into the hotel that they had already paid him. So the bell boy at the hotel went chasing after the driver to get the money back. The management at the hotel were delighted to see us back as they had only just took over the hotel when we first arrived in Hanoi and we were their first returning guests. They gave us their best room, which unfortunately was on the 3rd floor, compared with the 1sdt floor we were on last time, it was however a much nicer room. We had made a resolution to try a different restaurant in hanoi and not the New Day, which we had used exclusively when we were last here. So this time we trie Little Hanoi Reataurant, it was good, we had cinnamon chicken and lemon and chilli chicken, both very nice, but it wasnt the New Day.