12/19/05 - To Vietnam
Up at 4:30A.M. to catch the Bangkok Air flight to Hanoi. Tasty Thai small meal on plane. Roger Burrows from Eldertreks met our flight, helped us change currency for dong at an ATM and escorted us by cab to the Galaxy Hotel. We have a decent room overlooking a bustling street. At the hotel cafe we had lunch and found that VIetnamese "bia" is not bad. The cafe was lined with shelves of paperbacks, mostly mystery and fiction in French and German! Later we walked to nearby Hoan Kien Lake which meant dodging a barrage of honking speeding, motor bikes and a few cabs whenever we tried to cross or walk down the narrow streets. Sidewalks are for vendors. Pedestrians need to be alert and nimble. Smoggy here, too, and cool with a wan winter sun. We walked around the lake, which was pleasant with photo ops galore, before we headed back running the traffic gauntlet a little more confidently this time. Met the rest of our tour and Miss Thuy, the Vietnamese country tour guide before we went for a delicious dinner at IndoChine. We rode in a small bus which is quite comfortable for the 12 of us.