Beautiful photo, eh? Nice and peaceful. Totally not representative of our first day in Hanoi, but it sure was fun!!!
Wikitravel describes Hanoi as the capital of choice of invaders, as the city has been the capital of one or another political regime for a thousand years.
The remains of French colonialism are present everywhere, from the yummy baguettes we had for breakast to the beautiful architecture in the old city. The French were kicked out in 1954, but we’re loving the food they left behind and the opportunity to speak French with tourists and locals alike!
We thought traffic was a challenge in China, but it is much more orderly there than in Hanoi. Good thing we were teenagers in the 80s, because Frogger has given us everything we need to know about crossing the street. We join hands, and slowly creep across the crosswalk while scooters and everything else flow past us on either side.
I can’t believe people in Asia don’t crash into each other, but I guess when there are so many people you learn to look out for one other, and no one drives quickly.
We wandered through the botanical gardens, and took a rickshaw ride around a rather large lake known as West Lake. While the city is busy and not pedestrian-friendly, there are some very serene parks and open spaces. My cover photo of one of these spots is taken from a roof-top restaurant. You wouldn’t know about all the chaotic traffic passing below!
Our Vietnamese hosts have three girls. Their two oldest are the same age as Sophie and Claire, and they were immediately drawn to each other. It’s amazing how children don’t need to share a language to play!
Our first day in Vietnam fell on Al’s birthday, so I arranged with our host to do something special. The Vietnamese don’t celebrate birthdays so I wasn’t expecting much, but she cooked us a traditional dinner and bought Al a cake!