Sunday, January 4, 2015

Good Morning, {Hanoi} Vietnam!

The main reason we went to Vietnam was to visit Halong Bay, which I can't wait to post about because it was definitely the highlight of our time in Vietnam. We also spent a few days in Hanoi...probably one too many days ha. You really don't need more than two days in Hanoi to see the sites, if that. Every traveler we met on our trip usually was on the go go go hopping around to different parts of the country. We definitely took the more leisurely approach by just hanging around the north part of the country. Mostly because of the baby, but also because of time and money. 

Hanoi was unlike anywhere else we have been. A crazy lively, and always LOUD city. Traffic was INSANE. Worse than anywhere else we have been, including the Dominican Republic and South America. A red light means nothing there! Even one-way streets sometimes seemed more like suggestions. Crossing the street was nuts. You just have to blindly walk and watch the cars and scooters not slow down and swerve around you. Our first night there was pretty mind boggling. 

 My favorite place we visited was the Temple of Literature. It is Vietnam's first University, founded in the year 1076. I just loved that it was a place celebrating education. All the shrines were of Confucius. A nice contrast compared to the other main site of the city: the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. I didn't take any pictures of that place because you weren't allowed to take pictures of the frozen body, and I had no desire to take pictures of the complex because they were pretty rude about it. The guards wouldn't even let an old Vietnamese lady hold on to the hand rail in the mausoleum. Victor saw the guard take her arm off and tell her to walk in the center of the aisle. What a joke!

Anyway, back to the Temple of Literature!

 Another place that left a sour taste in our mouths was the Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the "Hanoi Hilton"---where American POWs were held during the Vietnam War. Before that, it was for Vietnamese political prisoners when France occupied Vietnam. Not only was it full of the most b.s. propaganda that said that they made it the best conditions possible for American POWs, but it was also decorated in bad taste about their own Vietnamese, like playing kitschy haunted house music in the dark isolated prison cells and torture areas: not respectful at all to their own people who died there for political reasons.

We spent our last day (New Years Day) going and seeing the floating water puppet show, a Vietnamese art that starting in the flooded rice patties. This was the oldest water puppet theater in Vietnam and it was fun. Baby J loved watching too. 
 ^^the puppet masters^^
And then after we did some shopping (bargaining there sure was a pain in the butt though!) and I came sooo close to almost getting pick pocketed by an old man. I am so thankful I turned around at the perfect time. He knew I caught him as he turned to a store, and seriously, what could I say to him when I know he probably speaks no English?? I was mad, but still feeling so grateful nothing happened.

Despite all that, we ended on a good note walking around the lake in the center of the city. 

Long post, sorry! I just wanted to get Hanoi out in one post and not drag it out. So there you go. Hanoi. One of a kind. 


  1. Your travels look amazing! I wouldn't mind a Christmas with my family of three if that meant traveling to Taiwan and Vietnam. Love you much!

  2. So many 'Confucius says' jokes. So little time. 😉 but seriously, The water puppet show looks pretty awesome. Glad you guys were safe and smart!