• US: East/South
• New Zealand
• US: West/North
• Folly Cove
We unfortunately had to cut our trip to Vietnam short when we
juggled plane tickets to add a stop in India (there was only one open flight into India in the course of a month), so we were only
able to visit Hanoi during our five-day stay. After Cambodia, Hanoi
felt like paradise! It's actually referred to as the "Paris of the
East," due to its charming winding streets, peaceful green park
along the lake, and outdoor cafés and restaurants. We got a
beautiful Parisian-style hotel room for all of $15 U.S. Best of
all, the comfort of Hanoi comes with an equal amount of exoticism:
Hanoi's streets are lined with women wearing umbrella-shaped
hats carrying baskets full of fish and vegetables balanced on
wooden poles over their shoulders; women crouching in alleyways smoking fish on spits; men working at make-shift barber shops on the sidewalks or selling everything from bootleg books to birth control. They would approach Will on the street and say things like:
We whiled away our five days relaxing in cafés, eating great Vietnamese food mixed with the occasional tuna croquet or croissant, dodging thousands of motorbikes as we toured the streets, and getting some Vietnamese culture at the water puppet theater, which was an elegant display of Vietnamese music, traditional costumes, artistry, and folklore.
Our trip to Vietnam was far too short, and we're sad to have missed wonders like Halong Bay and the Vietnamese countryside. But, on the bright side, we serendipitously left Hanoi early, two weeks before the SARS outbreak hit the city.
We're already planning our next trip back to this stunning country.