So, I have left South Korea for the warmth of Viet Nam (it’s really two words like Ha Noi and Sai Gon). It was just getting super cold in Seoul and it feels great to be back in summer weather.
The last week in Seoul was hectic, trying to see everyone to say goodbye, packing, cleaning and getting ready for Viet Nam. Our boss took Ginger’s school, Avalon, and mine on a hike our last Saturday. It was still Fall and the hike was awesome. By Monday, bitter cold winds had swept in.
Ginger and I left for Ha Noi on Friday, the 21st, at 6am. We had had our bikes boxed up and upon arriving in Ha Noi oput them back together and took a taxi into the city. Everything I read about Viet nam warned about scams and people trying to sell you stuff, and while the latter is true we have yet to be scammed.
Ha Noi was fascinating- busy,full of mopeds and a french-influenced sort of charm left from colonial times. I think Korea was a good buffer because I have become used to communicating with hand signals, being the only white person around and chaotic traffic. The city was really charming and the first night we had our first bowl of Pho at a street side restaurant with just a table and stools set up outside- Pho is the traditional noodle soup- it was deleicious.
Saturday we went to Halong Bay, a Unesco World Heritage site, and all I can say is it was incredible. It was miles upon miles of limestone mountains rising up out of the water. We stayed on a boat with a small group of tourists and came back Sunday, spending the evening in Ha Noi.
So far the people have been so friendly, whenever we have needed help about five people try to help us-and nobody has been sketchy or pickpocketed us as we were warned. We are still being careful but happily surprised by the helpful warm attitude we have encountered. Everyone is very smiley with each other and it feels genuine.
We had a major snaffu- we left our cameras at our hotel in Ha Noi- after repacking our bike bags in a hurry going to the train station. We were devastated and thought they were lost forever but when we went back to the hotel the staff had put them in an envelope for us. This did not seem like the place we read about where people are trying to scam and steal-instead we have met very nice, trustworthy people.
We took the night train on Sunday to Hue and spent the day here in Hue- tomorrow we get to the serious biking!
Look for pictures on flicker later. I have to go!