Saturday, December 20, 2008

Day #1 Hanoi

We woke up and took long, hot beautiful showers in luxury. It was amazing. I slept so well surrounded by fluff and comfort. Then we checked out of the Sofitel and went on a search for lunch and a new hotel. We walked around the lake, Hoan Kiem Lake, which is one of the major attractions here in Hanoi. It has an interesting story. We found a little cafĂ© called L a Place that we had lunch at. The food was tasty and we ended up making conversation with the western girl sitting at the table next to us. She is a college student from Massachusetts that is here doing research for her junior thesis which is about the Vietnam War. She was friendly and has been in Vietnam since August—a few months in the south and then about two and a half months here in Hanoi. She loves it. She ended u p showing us some of her favorite places to eat and giving us some history too. She is a history major and has a huge love for this country. It was fun, but we must have walked forever. When she left us, Paul and I sat down on a bench and were relieved to have a break. We were both pooped and did not realize how good it would be to sit down. We spent the rest of the afternoon looking for a new hotel to move into. Since we splurged the first night we wanted to save some money by staying somewhere cheap. We had some iced coffee while we did research—Paul online and me in the lonely planet book. We found a small street lined with places, but nothing swept us off our feet. We finally decided upon the very first place we looked which was near the Sofitel. It is called the Artist Hotel and it is small and super simple. It is only $22 per night and has a private bath with air con. It is a charming little place that is tucked back up an alley. It is also just above the Hanoi Cinema, aA small indie movie theater. Very cool. Paul did all the moving while I sat on the terrace of the Sofitel. I was super tired and kind of grumpy. He is amazing. We moved to the new hotel and then came to have dinner on the Sofitel terrace restaurant. Paul had fresh oysters and I had a croquet monsieur with French fries. It was so good. I felt better after getting some food in me and having some time to sit and rest.

After dinner we walked back to the hotel and were going to see a movie. It was AIDS week at the theater and we were going to see Philadelphia, but when Paul went to get tickets we realized that we were a day off. All day we thought it was Thursday, but it was really Friday. We had missed the one showing. The next movie was a Spanish film. We had coffee in the courtyard and then went up to the room. I badly wanted to go to sleep, but couldn’t. We ended up watching a movie on the TV in our room, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. (I think that is what it is called) I then went to sleep while Paul played DS.

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