Tokyo guzzler: August 2015, part 2 – A couple of weeks in Vietnam…

We rolled into Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital in the north of the country, on Independence Day. It was the start of 4 weeks travelling around the region:

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Our first morning in Hanoi. And what more normal than a man fast asleep on his motorbike? This was actually quite a common sight over the next few days. Sleepy buggers.

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Hỏa Lò Prison – or, the “Hanoi Hilton”. A former prison used for political prisoners and later by North Vietnam for prisoners of war during the Vietnam War.

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The guillotine room. A bit different to mine in work.

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The Huc Bridge at Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

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The Hoan Kien Lake is a really beautiful part of the city. People exercise there early in the morning and late into the evening. Some people like to stand on their head. I tried it and nearly fell in the lake.

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Hoàn Kiếm Lake at dusk.

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Stop texting….it’s your wedding day! There were lots of brides around the lake having photos taken. At least, I assume they were brides. There could potentially have been a massive wedding-themed fancy dress party going on nearby that I missed out on an invite for.

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What a great place to stand selling balloons….slap bang in the middle of the world’s craziest junction! What’s that – Legend Beer??? Yes please! Legendary prices too. Good old Vietnamese Dong.

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And here we are! To cross this junction, you basically just walk out and hope you don’t get hit. Miraculously, no one ever seems to get hit. How that happens is still a mystery to me. The Highway Code, inspired by reruns of ’90s classic TV series “Police, Camera, Action”, consists of the following rules: don’t hit anyone; don’t get hit; beep your horn at every possible opportunity; try to fit as many people on a bike as possible; if a lorry is nearby, clear out the way fast or risk being plowed down; last but not least, good luck!

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A few moments later…..carnage!

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We went to a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show. It was pretty lame in all honesty, but thankfully it only lasted about 45 minutes so it didn’t drag on too long! These are the puppeteers taking a bow at the end, shortly before being pelted with fruit and rotten tomatoes! BOOOOO….down with this sort of thing!

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What a plonker, Rodney! A giant drum at the Temple of Literature.

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Me at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi. The embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh is preserved here but we didn’t get the chance to see it sadly.

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One of the ugliest buildings in the world according to CNN. They clearly haven’t visited some places in northern England!

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Trấn Quốc Pagoda at West Lake. The stench of excrement was unbearable in the midday heat here. We even saw one woman emptying a bag full of shit – literally – into the lake. It was hideous and made us both gag. Then we went for a curry.

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Papped again, this time at the Presidential Palace. We were early for afternoon tea.

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Mmmm….Vietnamese food is gooood. Probably best not to think about food hygiene in the country though….not the cleanest and it wasn’t long before I had a 48hr shits fest. Still, to be expected I guess.

More to follow….

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