Good Morning Vietnam!

We spent 7 days in Vietnam. We started off in Hanoi which is the capital of Vietnam and about 5 hours south of China.Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. This is very apparent when you arrive to the center of Hanoi. It’s called the Old Quarters and has  French influence architecturally and food.

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We stayed in the Old Quarters and walked just about everywhere. This city has lots of people and they all ride motorbikes!  There also seems to be no traffic laws. There will be a red light, but no one stops. Crossing the roads here is equivalent to jumping out of a plane. Just close your eyes, go and hope nothing bad happens! It took us a couple days to catch on!

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On our first night we took a seat up on the balcony of a restaurant and just watched in awe the mayhem below us! There literally was no ryhme or reason to them crossing the streets. It’s wherever you can find space! There were people strolling right through the center. We thought for sure there would be an accident, but amazingly no incidents. After watching for a bit, we figured out the secret. You just walk and they will go around you!

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Scott’s in two of these pictures. Can you find him?

We went to the night market after and perused the local shopping. Oh and Scott bought me a balloon.

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In the Old Quarters their is a lake in the middle called Hoan Kiem. This is where the locals go to do their morning excerise of Tai Chai or just hang around.

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Obviously in Vietnam the war has played a big part in their recent history. One of the places we visited was the Hoa Lo Prison, sometimes called the Hanoi Hilton.  During the Vietnam War the U.S. supported the South and often led attacks on Hanoi.   The Hoa Lo Prison was used to house many American POWs, most notably John McCain. Often called the Hanoi Hilton because the Americans were actually treated quite well in the prison.  Surprisingly, even with all the damage and casualties the U.S. caused, there isn’t much animosity toward Americans throughout Vietnam. However, in speaking with some of the locals they did admit that the older, pro communist Vietmanese still disliked Americans.

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(John McCain)

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(They would use this to execute their prisoners)

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( sewage drain 12 prinsoners escaped from)

One of Vietnam’s claim to fame is their 54 different ethnic groups. They have a Ethnology Museum that shows all the different groups: where they live, how they live and what their culture is. It’s amazing to think they are still doing the same thing their ancestors did almost 300 years ago (everything handmade and no machinery). There is a place to see a lot of the villages and it’s called Sapa. Unfortunatly we didn’t have time to go there, but next time :). This museum helped us get a pretty good picture though.

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Another popular thing to do in Hanoi is the water puppet theater. It has won some awards and does a great depiction of the ethnic groups too.

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And of course we tried some Pho! This famous national dish has been named one of the top 5 streetfoods in the world by globalpost. And yes, the rumors are true. They do eat dog here!! We were wondering why there weren’t a lot of strays! 😦

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One thing we also noticed is that they eat on the street on little stools! In the evening most of them are in their pajamas and the whole family is sitting on stools eating Pho.

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There bars are actually set up the same way. Its kinda cool to just people watch (and there are a ton of people at any given time).

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This cute little girl came up and was selling gum for like .50 Of course we couldn’t resist. She posed for us. Haha.

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And here are just a few random pics:

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Almost every business had one or more birds outside their door. They are always chripping and it added a serene feel to a chaotic street.
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These donut ladies were everywhere! Sooooo good!

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Highland Coffee is their Starbucks (really good)
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Hats, hats and more hats
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Mid-week we took a 2 night 3 day cruise to Ha Long Bay. We will post soon!

3 thoughts

  1. Just beautiful…..I just watch a travel show w/Samantha Brown from Vietnam….many of the same things you’ve posted here including the water puppets!!!! Ray and I eat Pho quite often here at a Vietnamese restaurant! We love it! Enjoy your phenomenal trip!!! Just awesome!

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