Good morning, Vietnam! (or 'Hell of a Ride')

Over-looking the start page this seems to have turned purely into a food blog! Before I start a post on Brownies and what not (trust me I will)... Let us, in this chilly January evening, look at some photos from another time and another continent, hoping that will melt my frozen toes just a tad. Alors, Ha Noi!

I remember as a kid watching this travel report from Ha Noi on the TV. From there it seemed all crowded, chaotic traffic, and full of conical hats. That imagery remained in my head so imagine my surprise when I, over a decade later, arrive in Hanoi - and it is in fact exactly as what I remember from TV! Crazy, chaotic... and beautiful.

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The expression HELL of a ride would go fairly well to describe the bus ride from the Lao capital to the Vietnamese. And not because of how all the farangs are squeezed, by Scandinavian measures, in the back of the bus. More because of the constant karaoke blasting out of the speakers at full volume. When I cautiously ask them to turn it down a bit during the night hours, it has the opposite effect. (Conversation goes something like this: "Could you perhaps turn down the music? It is too loud", whereas the drivers look at me with question marks on their faces. "TOO LOUD", I repeat. "Too LAO?" Oh hell no *turns volume up*.)

      26 long hours later we arrive in Hanoi...

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The first night we spent on top of an art gallery... The ultimate Hanoi-photo? Confused American tourists, a vespa swooshing by and a bike filled to.the.brim. !!! 

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The ultimate Hanoi-photo? Confused American tourists, a vespa swooshing by and a bike filled to.the.brim. !!! 

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The fastfood restaurants of Hanoi. Genius. Hanoi is under a curfew in the evening. Entertainment venues such as bars and clubs are not allowed to stay open later than midnight. There is, however, not such strict regulations regarding a bia-hoi, basically an open-air bar where you are sat on tiny plastic chairs at the side of the road and they serve local draft beer (bia hoi! aka the cheapest beer in the world!). But each evening the police come out on their patrol. All of a sudden, plastic tables and people are flying everywhere. Then there is this pause where the owners pretend to not be serving beer and the guests are standing there in confusion. It is a strange phenomenon indeed.

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Hanoi is under a curfew in the evening. Entertainment venues such as bars and clubs are not allowed to stay open later than midnight. There is, however, not such strict regulations regarding a bia-hoi, basically an open-air bar where you are sat on tiny plastic chairs at the side of the road and they serve local draft beer (bia hoi! aka the cheapest beer in the world!). But each evening the police come out on their patrol. All of a sudden, plastic tables and people are flying everywhere. Then there is this pause where the owners pretend to not be serving beer and the guests are standing there in confusion. It is a strange phenomenon indeed.

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An afternoon I had on my own, I spent at the Vietnamese Women's Museum <3

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A simple thing such as crossing the street seemed like a matter of life and death in Hanoi. I quickly learned that it is best not to think so much, just walk (and hope to get across in one piece). It worked miraculously well.