The city seems to have the magic, I woke up in the morning couldn’t wait to have a trip around it. Not that I slept well, i got trembled and frozen, got prepackaged *very tight* on the blanked-and still got my hand slumped into my jacket number 2. I also wore jacket number 1 inside it ++double socks :( . Maybe that was another reason to be woken up. The only thing that helped me a lot was the hot shower water. It felt like all the “invisible” ice stuck inside my bones and flesh melting in *no exaggeration…
Breakfast was prepared by local Vietnam lady around 50s, helped by 3-4 Vietnamese teenagers, in a 1,5X2 m kitchen. While awaiting Mr. P & Mr. S took a shower & waken up, i sat by the receptionist table (all breakfast table were already occupied). There were 4 or 5 tables of four, occupied by western tourist. What I had noticed was, there were a small number of Asian tourists in Vietnam, most of them are non-Asian tourists (Germany, Sweden, Latin America, I knew it from the language they spoke in a second of time).
At around 9 am, we started to walk around the old quarter. The plan was to follow the lonely planet’s itinerary for one-day-tour in old quarter. Not different from last night, we started it from the Hoan Kiem Lake, the closest object from our hotel, to walk around it. The weather was even worse than the other night, the air was more jabbing cold and it was quite rainy & foggy. But somehow it added a whitish-curtain-like to the lake, separating us with the Ngoc Son Temple located in the middle of the lake from distance. We took a picture near the lake, on the sidewalk, where a group of many kinds of flower were tidily and gracefully set, served a small and beautiful garden for the pedestrians.
I can’t tell you the very detail of the trip (the path, the direction or the street name). It was a trip on the sidewalk surround the old quarter, with its buzzing, bustling nuance, aggravated by the amazingly ignorant motorcyclist. One thing about the road in old quarter, it is quite a maze, with very complicated bend and turn (that is why I can’t tell you the detail). Luckily we were equipped with 2 maps on us (Bible’s Map & Hotel’s Map), guided us through the many places we visited. I even had a moment when I felt pity on myself, for being a blind-direction-tourist :P. Especially thanks to Mr. S & Mr. P for their amazing senses of every bend, turn, intersection, and crossroad in old quarter.
And don’t worry, if you are spontaneous, there were lots of Hotel and Tour information agent are in place to serve the tourists. You don’t have to book in advance. Well, a little effort might be need if the rooms are full.
Around 1 pm, we took lunch in restaurant named Ladybird. Ordered some menus including my favorite one: Vegetable Spring Roll (Mr. P told me that he thought it might be fried with pork oil, and it certainly hampered by intention to order 1 more portion). For non-vegetarian reader, sorry I can’t tempt you by mentioning non-vegetarian menu, since I can only remember mine :). But I remember a bit Mr.P and Mr. S ordered noodle, cooked with pork I guess, corn soup with chicken * I guess, again*, fried rice with pork & seafood. The later was regretted by Mr. P, which is until now still holds his opinion on Vietnam fried rice: not so good and weird *I cite from him*. On the contrary, I found the fried rice is delicate *off from whether it is cooked by pork oil or not, i certainly hope not*.
The trip continued around the old quarter, passed by some small temples & pagodas (not that exciting to take the picture on, or explored in), towards a beautiful old church, Regina Pacis Church. It was the second object i admired after the Hoan Kiem Lake. Again, we spilled our narcissism by taking several pictures. Mr. P showed some skill by using his professional cameras (and its partner: amazing tripod, Roger), produced some pictures i knew it’s gonna be my favorite. And thanks to Mr. S for its revolvable screen camera, enabled us to take our own picture with all of us in, without the help of fourth-hand :).
The journey pulled us to the place I admired, the Chu Tich Ho Chi Minh. A big monument or building with a huge capacious park, overgrown by a grass, separated by quadrates. There was also a huge capacious sidewalk, filled with pedestrians, tourists, even local people was having a Tai chi, and of course, an army, who walking around to guide the surrounding (it’s hard not to meet an army in Hanoi; and it’s too bad I didn’t count T_T). But that’s not all, the sparkling lights emitted from the haughty street light was the most attraction as the sun goes down. I don’t have to tell you what happened next: photo session, the best part of all…Mr. P took Sean&Shane out of his big black bag set some angle, lighting, and perfect composition for us to take the picture on. The Result: an amazing picture born by professional photographer from Duri. I already lost my shame on my pocket camera *sigh…*
Hanoi, a place where super driver is born!
We drove back to Hotel, took a quick shower, and went back to have a supper. That was the night that rocks!!! Remember the event the army told us earlier? It was on! Till now I don’t know what they celebrated. All I knew was the road & sidewalk around the lake flooded by hundreds (or maybe thousands) of people.
After having a dinner, we took a walk around to see the crowd. Mr. P wanted to take a picture of the Ngoc Son Temple, which was conjured into a sparkling diamond in the middle of bluish magical lake. That’s why we traced down the sidewalk to get a space. But it was very difficult, since it was already filled with people crowding around. There were also some street merchant offering many things from food, toys, candy, and more. And….don’t forget, hundreds or thousands motorcycle was also took part :). It seems that the isolated area we saw in the afternoon was set up as a huge stage for a show. We couldn’t see it from where we stood. But it seemed that there were a lightshow and music sounded from there.
Just a few moments after we stood there, suddenly, fireworks flared up from the stage, shocked us with their beautiful sparks on the sky. All of people enchanted in a sudden, raise their head to the sky, admiring its beautiful eruption on the blue dark sky. And it’s not new year yet people, it was 30 December 2009. Again, I didn’t know what they celebrated. There were couples of fireworks flared up by turns, sourced from the stage *I believe, though I couldn’t see clear where was it coming from*and then stopped. I sighed my breath deploring the short moment of the fireworks, before another fireworks started to flare again. This time it sourced from the middle of the lake, from the sparkling green-yellow bridge in front of us.
If I’m not mistaken, Mr. P straddled excitingly (maybe it was like “this is the moment I’ve been waiting for… Sean… be ready…”). Me and Mr. S busy taking picture as well with our camera.
The annoying thing was, there was a big *f*****g balloon, so Mr. P said*held by someone stood in front of us flying right and left waved by the wind, hampering our view to a perfect moment. I still remember Mr. P said “f*****g balloon” couples of time that day, and one time the day afterwards.
"As much horror as we have always created, we are a species that keeps moving forward, seeing new sights in new ways, and enjoying the journey” – Martha Beck