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Distance covered today: 0km
Distance traveled from Guangzhou: 1,201km
Distance remaining to Singapore: 3,903km
It wasn’t my first time visiting Hanoi (KM 1201); the first time was back in 2006 with my mother. Since I had seen much of the sites, I would spend most of my time walking around and retracing some of my steps.
Hanoi’s busy traffic
At the Hoan Kiem Lake, I was approached by one of the peddlers. He could speak pretty good English and started to talk to me about SEA Games football once he knew I was Singaporean. At the end, he made a sales pitch to me and I was willing to buy a postcard from him since he was quite entertaining. It was only then I realized that I dropped my money! Although the amount that I lost (48,000 VND) wasn’t significant, my expression must have made the guy believe that I had lost a couple of millions. I excused myself and escaped him.
There was an area around the lake guarded by police who restricted public access into the place. I didn’t know what was going on but the police did let me go in. I think that the restricted area was the celebration venue for the 1000th anniversary of the founding of the city.
Away from the lake I walked towards the Old Quarter.
After exploring the Old Quarter i walked towards the French-styled buildings in the peripheral area.
I also went to eat ice-cream in a famous ice-cream place. Many locals were eating there too.
I whiled some time away at a shopping mall before stopping by at a roadside stall for dinner. Most of my meals during the trip would be settled at roadside stalls like this. While the hygiene conditions weren’t what we were used to, the locals were all fine eating them. I would be fine too.
I headed back to the hostel to collect my bag before setting off for the train station.
Unlike Chinese hard sleepers, the Vietnamese ones have compartments. When I located my apartment, an elderly man was already inside with his wife. He talked to me in Vietnamese and of course I couldn’t respond. He then asked me whether I knew English. I replied yes and we began to talk. So Mr Manh and his wife were from Ho Chi Minh City and were going to Sapa for holidays as well. He used to study in the United States and that was why he could speak English. He sorta took a liking of me and asked me some questions about my trip.
The other passengers soon filled our compartment and I went to sleep soon. However, my sleep was interrupted by the loud snoring of the man on the uppermost deck. I would be in for a long night…..