Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sitting at Hue airport.

Well I didn't actually get started so we are now flying. It was amusing at the airport. Through security to jump on the bus to head to our plane. We couldn't see the Vietnamese Airlines plane. There was a Cambodia Air plane in front of us. So off we tootled in the bus to the plane parked not 50m from us. I could have hit a pitching wedge further! Everybody laughed when we pulled up.
Just been given another bottle of water on the 55 minute flight. You get water everywhere. Mind you, you need it as perspiration levels are high. I think I will invest in some bottled water company.
At our hotel this morning, whilst waiting for the transfer to the airport, the Manager came to chat to us as we left some comments on the guest survey. Our comments included no loo paper on arrival in our room, a musty smell in our room on entry (second hotel in a row this has been a problem), dim lights (not bright enough to read by even with every room light on) and being charged 40,000 dong ($2) for fresh milk to be brought to our room for a cup of tea made by us in our room. Everywhere else this has been no problem and no charge. I think the Manager was even surprised at the amount charged. He offered to refund it but we said not to worry. It was a full glass of milk. We just wanted to make a point. Grabbos got charged 70,000 to have some ice for drinks brought to their room (they didn't complain though). The Manager was very apologetic, even had head of House Keeping come and apologize to us. Made us feel a little bit bad. Hope nobody gets the sack over our comments. We were just trying to be helpful so they can meet the expectations of tourists. It was not the cheapest hotel!
So if you stay at the Huong Giang Hotel in Hue, I think the milk will be complimentary from now on!
After breakfast, Russ and I walked over the bridge to the market on the other side of the Perfume River. This was a very local market. Whilst we were there, we didn't see any other westerners. All sorts of produce being sold. Meat, fish, chicken, pork etc. Some live, some dead, some in the transition phase (if you know what I mean). It certainly killed any appetite one might have had.
This is a bigger plane with 6 seats across. It is full. Many different nationalities on this flight. Plenty of French tourists in Hue. A few familiar faces. People we have chatted to in other towns.
Now in Hanoi. About a 45 min. bus ride from the airport. We thought Saigon was busy! This place is crazy. A lot more cars on the way, but still masses of motorbikes. The streets seemed to get narrower as we got closer to our Hotel (Maison D'Hanoi Hanover). It is right in the middle of Hanoi in the Old Quarter, near the Lake of the Restored Sword. We might find out more about how it got it's name tomorrow when we do a full day tour of the city. We made our way out to a lovely spot overlooking the lake for a pre dinner drink. It is a beautiful spot in the middle of the CBD. Then it was a wander about to find somewhere for dinner. More like dodgem cars than a wander, as the streets are narrow and still have to accommodate all those motorbikes!
Found a place that was upstairs above a dress shop. Open air and had a lovely view of a Cathederal. A few problems with language, mains came before entrees (not the first time this has happened) RM didn't get what he ordered and they couldn't figure out what he had or why there was an extra meal. Apart from that, our meal was great. One of the best so far. Still cheap at $7.50 each including drinks. Vietnam in general, still struggles with the concept of cold beer/drinks, despite so many Aussies asking for cold drinks. Rarely cold enough to satisfy most.
Our hotel room is a little on the small size, but very nice. All the buildings in this area are narrow. To do with the amount of tax paid on the land. Small lots so they go up, even in the outskirts and more rural areas.
The round fishing boats came about because of taxes on fishing boats. The people made the round ones and said they were large baskets so they didn't pay the fee.
There are about 35 million motorbikes (nearly all are scooters) registered here. Population is 86 million. Death toll
so far this year across the country from road accidents is 7,000. Sobering thought, but surprising it is not higher after watching the traffic. Fortunately the speeds are not high as there would be more.
One of today's photos shows a scooter well loaded. Took it through the bus window, but we decided the guy was moving house as he a a small fridge, fan, kettle, pushbike and a whole host of other things. That's how to do it Nicola and Nana Rene. It was also humourous to watch the guy with crates of coke on the back of his bike. He had trouble balancing it, so we stayed well clear in case it ended in disaster. He got going eventually.

It seemed a little cooler when we arrived, but still forecast for 24 o/n and 32 tomorrow. Not a great variation from the south.
Bring on the hustle and bustle of Hanoi tomorrow.

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