Hanoi. Just another big bustling city, and we stayed in the old quarter which was very touristy. There is no love affair with Vietnam for me, it has been one hell of a tour taking in as many towns and cities as we possibly could, and just about every location has had it’s moments.
True to form, Hanoi was no differant. We negotiated a rate with the first hotel, dumped the bags and were on our way to explore the city. On returning later that night, Stacey noticed a damp smell in her room, which was not apparent earlier on as the door had been left opened. Mark asked to move rooms, but the hotel was fully booked. We decided to move on next morning, and on trying to settle the bill, we were advised of the rate in VND with an exchange rate of 22,000 to the $. Here we go again. This turned out to be another minor battle. This time, the young girl working on reception was absolutely obnoxious. Increduously, she was personally and venemously insulting us. I have never experienced anything like this in my life. We settled in $’s, and she was not amused.
The next hotel were very friendly, but next morning, after having negotiated a 2 night deal, we were advised in the morning that the rate was going up by $5 or we would have to change to other rooms. We all got up without showering thinking we were just moving to alternative rooms within the hotel. We seemed to be hanging around reception forever, when a bloke on a motorbike turned up to take us to our new rooms. We were then advised we were being transported to an alternative hotel. I took the ride to the new hotel, which turned out to be a bit of a dump and in the middle of no place, so I insisted on being returned to the hotel. We were left having to sort out accomodation again. Vietnam is a complete pain with all this carry on, they are your best friend trying to get your dollar, then seem to treat you with contempt thereafer.
Halong Bay was pretty outstanding, but the weather let us down. We were on a boat, freezing cold, and completely miserable. It was not how I had envisaged this some 9 or 10 months ago on researching the place. We kept our spirit’s up by talking about the heat in Bangkok. We were flying out of Vietnam at 11pm that night, and we just could not wait to get to the airport. we had a really good laugh with two young German girls’s that seemed to be having a similar experience to us. Stacey cracked open a bottle of $3 Hanoi Vodka, and everyone had a few nips which managed to make us all quite merry, and also seemed to heat us up.
I can’t generalise about the people of Vietnam. It’s really those involved in the tourist industry, and those that trade that appear to have this seriously bad attitude towards tourists. Get out and about and meet the real people, and they are genuinely lovely.
Unfortunately, with so many bad experiences here, with the exception of Saigon and Hoi An, Vietnam has not left a great impression on us.
Back to Mama’s in Bangkok.