Friday, May 02, 2014


We had a wonderful hotel in Hanoi, and because I had had several positive emails with the hotel manager, we got upgraded to a suite for our first four nights. Don't you love the rose petals?

From our window we looked down on the street. And the vendors. There is obviously a great need for footwear in Hanoi.

The iconic red bridge crosses to a small island in the middle of the city. A small temple sits on the island and is one of the most visited sites in the city.

This long distance shot shows that not only tourists make the pilgrimage.

Just a view of the same lake. There is a small tower on another island in the lake 

We passed by St. Joseph's Church almost every night on our way to dinner. It was usually locked up, but the square in front was busy.

We saw many flowers for sale. The white lilies in the background of this flower seller's array are Madonna lilies and are apparently very popular with the locals at this time of the year.

We passed many flower shops with their exuberant displays.

This sculpted wall is inside the old prison, now a museum, where the French incarcerated many of the Freedom Fighters who struggled to free themselves from French rule. One of the items on display inside was an oft-used guillotine.

This gave some context of the way the prisoners were shackled.

And this lively, and unposed, scene was in a courtyard inside the prison too. I'm guessing the young women were performers.

We had lunch twice at this restaurant where the specialty was a richly flavoured broth brimming with grilled pork and pork meatballs and a side of pork and crab spring rolls. At every table a heaping plate of greens was provided to add to the broth as well as a pile of fresh noodles.

A very filling meal for about four dollars.

When we returned from our trip to Halong Bay, the hotel staff apologized that they couldn't upgrade us for our last two days. But we were hardly unhappy with our room.

Another meal. Ribs for Geordie, expertly divided by the waitress.

And a fusion presentation of pork three ways - glazed pork belly, pork tenderloin and a pork meatball wrapped in crisply fried leaves. The same leaves also garnished the plate, and one piece of the meat was captured in a piece of split lemongrass. It was all delicious.

Geordie went out for coffee one morning and got caught in a rain storm. The place he was sitting in sold him this raincoat for 10,000 dong, the equivalent of 50 cents. When he got back to the hotel the staff told him they would probably have paid 2000 dong. An obvious rip-off of the unsuspecting tourist - lol.

I've mentioned traffic in the city, but really didn't capture the frenetic feel of it here. It was Sunday morning when there was much less traffic than usual.

 But just look at this traffic sequence. In the upper picture you see the pedestrians and at the lower left a motorbike driving into the intersection.

And here we see the same motorbike a second later, doing its best to give the pedestrians a little lesson in who's boss.

And here a motorbike is pressed in to service to deliver dirty sheets from our hotel to the laundry.

I was surprised to find a knitter working away industriously in Hanoi. This woman was making hats for sale.

We also had coffee one day in this coffee shop. It's claim to fame? During the filming of Indochine (note the poster) it was where Catnerine Deneuve and the director had coffee during the shoot.

And here they are.

I will just take this opportunity to say thank you to all the folk who journeyed with us through SE Asia through my blog. Thank you for your many kind words about the photographs and my writing. I am so glad you enjoyed the journey with us.

And look. We lost weight. Looks like Pho (Vietnamese soup) really is a weight loss program.