Saturday, December 20, 2008

HCMC to Hanoi

A long day, but not hard, just waiting and sitting. We woke up and went across the street for some breakfast at le pub. The breakfast was quite good. Then paul and I want to dan sinh market which is known for military surplus and electronics. We were after a USB charger for our nintendo DSs. When we walked up on the place we had our doubts. Then we meadered around for a while in hopes of some electronics, but with no luck. This whole market is like a giant home depot/army surplus rolled into one. So when they say electronics, the translation is real electronics having doing with electricity and stuff. Not video games, tvs, or the such. J it was funny, although not helpful to us.

We checked out of our hotel and then arranged for a taxi to the airport. Upon arrival we started looking to book our tickets to hanoi. Paul had looked online and saw that the flights went all day and we did not make booking before b/c we figured no problem just to show up. It was around 11:30am when we arrived, but quickly discovered that the next flight we could get on was at 4:30pm. Argh. We made the booking and looked around for a place to sit. We got up early this morning b/c some lady upstairs had on some loud clippity clappity shoes. It was nuts. So we are tired and have four hours to wait at the domestic terminal. We found some chairs inside and got out the laptop. We decided to watch prison break. We got through 2 episodes before the battery was super low. Then paul went hunting for an outlet. With no luck, we went to the international terminal and found a restaurant to sit at. We ordered iced coffees and spring rolls. The spring rolls were nasty! The only thing that made them worth eating was the soy sauce on the table. We watched two more episodes of prison break before packing up to get to our flight. J

The flights was simple and two hours. Upon arrival in Hanoi, we realized that we were in a bit of a pickle. Hanoi is known for hotel hustling. We arrived after dark and weren’t really keen to wander around and take our chances. With all this in mind, we decided to really splurge and go with a big name hotel for the first night. Crazy times led us to the Sofitel Metropole Hotel, yes it is crazy nice! We used Skype to call them and ask for an airport pick up. This is the best route to go. We met the contact guy at the airport and he arranged a taxi for us. I don’t think the driver was thrilled about this, but he did not seem to mind too badly b/c he agreed to take us.

The taxi ride was a bit weird. It felt like he was going to drive us all the way to cambodia. We drove forever and I really began to wonder about the whole situation. I did get nervous at one point, but kept trying to be reasonable. Worst case scenarios kept spinning in my head and I had to put a stop on my imagination. We finally arrived to the hotel. A total gem with a price to go with. Here we are in total backpacker mode and walk into this nice, swank hotel. Paul had one jeans and a t-shirt and I had one my thai pants and a stretch t-shirt with sandals. Both of us with backpack in tow. Nuts. Paul had done some research online and we knew the price that was listed. He had to take out the laptop and how the guy otherwise we would have paid more money. So we figured this was our Christmas present to ourselves… $231 for the night. NUTS!!! The room was gorgeous and the bed amazing. The bathroom was superb and a totally nice retreat for a hot shower. We could not believe we did it. We did look online and this really was the best option considering the situation. Total pampering!!!

Then we had to eat some dinner. At this point, we were both starving. The hotel has three restaurants—french, italian, and a vietnamese one. We took a look at all three menus before deciding. We went with the french one. Again, totally under dressed, but what can you.
Paul was in heaven! He chose the chef’s menu with matching wines for the five course meal. Happy Birthday to him! He was so excited and thrilled to have such gourmet food and the wines to match each course. I had lobster (a cheaper choice) and a glass of wine that they waiter suggested. The meal was nuts and amazing all in one. I also had a royal gala apple dessert that was really nice. It was nuts. After dinner we went

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