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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rising Dragon

Flying with Air Vietnam really is pleasant. No fussy checkins where they measure and weigh and charge. Both Ree and I carried the majority of our medicine as hand luggage. Although we are only allowed one piece we both carried on two each, and they weren't small. Even our checked baggage is about 20kg a piece. Mine had condensation forming on the outside from the ice cooled medicine bag. They noticed and alerted me to the fact something may be leaking, but that was all.

At the airport we found the usual tourist desk where we spent the next 30 minutes planning our final week. We had already heard from other tourists about prices and what to look out for. We booked the whole lot from the airport at what we thought were very competitive prices.

Long and scary drive from airport to the Hanoi Old Quarters. Traffic here is much scarier than anywhere else we had seen. We almost wiped out a dozen vehicles in our taxi. Even the cyclists that narrowly avoided death by quickly maneuvering out of the way looked totally un-phased by the driver's driving.

The Rising Dragon Palace Hotel, the latest of the 3* Rising Dragon chain, was welcoming. Efficient check in and we were guided to the room by the gent who checked us in. Room is perfect. Best we have had. And all for under $40 per night including breakfast (just had it and it is excellent!). Wifi in the stylish room too.

For dinner we walked through the old quarters to a Vietnamese/French restaurant which was nothing short worthy of a Michelin Star; The Green Tangerine.

Walking at night through Hanoi is mind boggling. 90% motorbikes traveling at a rate of knots in all directions. It is amazing we have seen no accidents anywhere in Vietnam yet (we saw one scraped tourist in HoiAn and one man come off a bike in HoChiMinh).

Hawkers selling food everywhere, and young people sitting on woven mats having picnics with beer! Everybody happy and peaceful. The main food was dried cuttlefish which was hammered flat with metal bars, and grilled on coals right there on the very narrow pavements. There was no room for us to walk on the walkways, and like everyone else we walked on the harrowing road with traffic buzzing around us. This was one heck of a special evening.

At a small pharmacy I bought my granulated oral Acetylcysteine (an expectorant not available in Australia) at half the price I get it for in other countries like Holland and Singapore or HK.

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