Monday, December 21, 2015

Hanoi - Take One

I left Mandalay, Myanmar on October 1, 2015.  After a couple of weeks of relaxing, visiting with friends and sightseeing in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, I flew to Hanoi.   My goal wasn't to see how many miles I could log or how many temples I could visit.  I just wanted to stroll around the Old Quarter, drink coffee and relax.  Here are some photos:
I checked into the Hanoi Guest House Royal.  It is a nice, well-located and reasonably priced hotel.  I arrived before check-in time and asked if there was a spa nearby.  A bell-man not only walked me a couple of blocks away to a spa, he waited to make sure I was happy there before he left.

While checking in they brought me a snack, drink and cool cloth.

My hotel was on an alley about half as wide as this "main road" which was a few steps away from the hotel entrance.

The king sized bed was huge and comfortable.  Every hotel I checked into had flowers on the bed to welcome me.

The shower was large, clean and had good water pressure.

In Bangkok there are 7-11's everywhere.  I didn't see one in Hanoi but they did have Circle K.

Water, tea, coffee and Pringles were complementary in my hotel room.  Pringles seemed like a random choice.

Big flat screen tv.
My first traditional Vietnamese "white" iced coffee.  I rarely drink coffee.  That changed in Vietnam.  The white layer on the bottom is sweetened condensed milk, the next layer is the strong drip coffee.  The top layer comes when the barista shakes the coffee in what looks like a cocktail shaker before pouring it.

I walked around the small very busy streets of Hanoi for several hours.  Then I headed back to a small outdoor cafe near my hotel.  It felt wonderful to just sit and not worry about dodging traffic.  After awhile I just started taking pictures of traffic as it passed.

The conical straw hats are commonly worn.

Women used yokes to carry prepared food, fresh fruits and vegetables and other goods for sale.

This lady sold fried snacks next to the cafe where I was sitting.  She periodically stopped cooking to do dishes.

The road is narrow but trucks and even buses use it. With most sidewalks covered with vendors stalls it makes walking an adventure.

I quickly discovered that instead of going to shop the shops come to you.

Great camouflage.

Coffee always came with water at this cafe.  The owners in every cafe I went to didn't seem to care how long I stayed.  Or even if I bought anything, although I always did.

There was rarely a pause in traffic.

Well-dressed business women frequently rode side-saddle to accommodate short skirts.

I enjoyed the monochromatic view.

These trees kept me in the shade.

And upstairs was a spa.  I had my first 4 hand body massage.  It was amazing.

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