Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hanoi and Halong Bay

The definitive characteristic of Hanoi, and perhaps other Vietnamese towns as we have yet to see, is the Vespa. 'Vespas as the sands of the sea' is proposed as the city slogan. Saigon claims more Vespas though this is a difficult claim to verify. Drivers of said Vespas are so pround that they can't help but to honk at all times. It is a sight to see them impressively swarming in myriad around cars and pedestrians.

Crossing the street here is not a matter of following the usual pragmatic steps: use the crosswalk, look both ways before crossing the street, etc. Rather it is a matter of faith, deliberately walk across and trust that this incomprehensible cloud will weave around you in classical symmetry.

Halong bay, is as a friend put it, "Water, and rocks sticking out of the water." It was nice, we slept on a boat with an unreliable power generator, kayaked, and did some hiking on Cat Bah island where we also stayed in a pretty nice hotel. On this island I can without reservation say that I had the best crab, and the worst Martini, of my life.

So far, we are the only Americans we have encountered. The great majority of tourists we have encountered so far are French followed by other Europeans.

The weather? Perfect, just a little overcast so as to make a sunburn unlikely.

Next! Danang for the surf.

(I'll add pictures when I can.)


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