Ivan, Jennifer and I woke up early on the sleeper train on November 13, 2008. We got to Hanoi, Vietnam at 5:15 am.
As we exited the station, there were a bunch of ladies standing there demanding that we hand over our train tickets before we could exit the station. Jennifer had left the tickets on the train which was quite a walk back, so there was no way she felt like going all the way back to get them – but these ladies blocked the path and said we couldn’t go further unless we went and got the tickets.
This made Ivan and Jennifer really crazy – first of all Ivan pushed through the women and they all tried to push him back but he got through. And then Jennifer walked through and they even pushed her back too! She was not very happy about that. Luckily during all the commotion, I just ran between their legs and they didn’t even notice because I’m so small. I didn’t even have a train in the first place! The train had a sign on it saying ‘ no monkeys’ – I don’t know what their problem with monkeys is, but I didn’t hang around long enough to find out.
We jumped in a taxi and arrived at the Hanoi Backpackers Hostel. Unfortunately the rooms weren’t ready yet , so we all sat around for a while until some dorm beds come available. Luckily they had free breakfast of bread, noodles , and bananas – Ivan and Jennifer ordered some egg to go with their bread, while I went for the predictable option – Bananas, with some Banana Jam on the side. Yummy!
We all caught some sleep the moment we hit the beds. It was well needed. Then once we were awake, we went to grab some lunch at the Kangaroo Cafe, which came highly recommended in my Vietnam guide book ‘ Lonely Monkey’.
In the afternoon we explored Hanoi – it’s a nice place, with this large lake in the center. We saw St. Joseph’s Cathedral.
It looks nice, but it seriously needs a cleaning. We grabbed some ice cream at a cheap local place which is famous for their ice cream. They only had vanilla ice-cream, but I made sure to give them a stern lecture on the benefits of Banana Ice cream, even if they don’t have many monkey customers.
The traffic in Hanoi is hectic. There are so many motorbikes and cars. So, it’s hard to cross the street. The best way is to go and just hope they try to and avoid you. We walked back to the hostel to rest for a bit.
We walked to Pepperoni’s for dinner. Ivan and Jennifer ordered Masala potato skins. It was only two medium sized potato skins. I had myself a great banana and chicken pizza. It was great! Ivan and Jennifer really enjoyed the bbq chicken pizza. We went back to the hostel. It was really noisy since a lot of people were drinking and having a good time. Ivan and Jennifer wrote up their postcards. Jennifer started reading her book Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. Soon after, we went to bed.