Post # 66 Hanoi

Day 79 1001 days to go. Distance: yesterday 42km today 37km total 4630km. It’s 5.40pm Friday 17/2/2012Hanoi. I’m sitting in an internet café where he Vietnamese kids just love their computer games. They are so into it. This has been across where I’ve been and there’s never a dull moment in these cafes as hey play ‘shoot ‘em up’ network games against each other and it’s on!! One good thing is that the child next o me doesn’t smell of urine. The other good thing is that the computers in these places are all super fast to cope with the HD games so it makes it for great downloading for my part. Hi there fromHanoi. I’ve had two days here firstly yesterday to do some ‘have-to’s and today for Rube and I to enjoy having a ride and look around. The city is a huge capital so we have only marginally dinted to get a snap shot but it’s been fun. Yesterday my jobs were to get Rube serviced, make contact with SOS Vietnam who has an office here inHanoi, and to find a Big C supermarket to stock up supplies. What an unfortunate name for a food chain hey? But they do have the stuff I’m after and the cheapest yummiest bread that sells straight out of the oven with folk lined up to grab their share of baguettes. At 4000 dong a bargain (20c). I started the day yesterday with a skype date with my partner which is always a beautiful start to the day. After this I did some internet checks and found the addresses for the Big C and a bike shop both on the other side of town across the red River. I was unsure where The hotel was in relation to the map I had. I did a check on Google maps and it came up showing my exact location. Isn’t that amazing? I worked out where I was and then headed into town. The city is a maize of one way streets definitely nooo grid system J What this meant was lots and lots and more lots of stopping and asking directions from locals. The help I got was great with some even drawing me mud maps. I managed to find the bike shop that specialized in brand name bikes and bugger me bugger bugger poo bottom – it was shut poo spitoo-eeey!!! I stood there willing the doors to open and this lad came out of another shop. He called the number on the window and gave me an address I assumed where I could find the person who worked there or another shop. While I was over that side of town I went to the supermarket for a fix and shop then back over the bridge to try find this other address. Two hours later gave up to save some sanity. Riding amongst the traffic is so full on. The book says it’s nothing like Saigon like hell!!!! It’s fuller on again with respect to the volume of traffic. Yesterday I learnt very quickly that you had to keep your hands on the inside of your handle bars as you are constantly rubbing/hitting handle bars of mopeds weaving amongst the traffic. It hurts to have your fingers pinched between so it took me twice to catch on. I usually say I’m a slow learner but no so in this case. Pain’s a good learning tool or an effective one at least J I stopped off at the Information centre to find out where the SOS office was as I couldn’t find the District on he map or on google maps. She was no help and just said it was way out of town. Thanks for that!!! Instead I sent them an email introducing myself and explaining our intent. As yet I haven’t heard from them so I’ll send them another email before I head tomorrow basically asking permission to raise some $ for them. It should just be a formality we’ll see. I suppose it relies on someone the other end being able to read English which I have assumed is the case but maybe not. Otherwise I can ‘Babelfish’ a translation and include that as well. Back to the bike shop debacle. Rube and I decided to drop the shopping back at the hotel and have a break from the chaos before reassessing what to do. The problem was being one way streets I couldn’t go back the way we came and got soooooo lost. I didn’t realize how lost I was until this woman came out and showed me where we were. Oh dear and I hope to cycle around the world!!! We were now back on track but with frowny frowns on as we had no idea how to organize a quality health check for the girl. As you know the shops are right on the street literally. We were waiting at this set of lights still frowning when I spotted flash helmets from the corner of my eye and low and behold there was a bike shop selling good grade components and this old fella servicing two brand racers on the footpath. This was about 1 meter away from us. So we cheered and stepped off the road and parked to wait our turn. If we hadn’t got lost I would never had found this shop and I haven’t seen one like it in our travels. I cheered and gave him and the other men waiting the thumbs up and took happy snaps literally yay. When it was out turn he gave her an all over check up while I held her hand as she was a bit frighties poor love J He found the rear cable levers were kaput and had another set there for $30. He also found that the back brakes pads had warn right down but didn’t have any to replace. I was able to explain I had some back at the hotel so he leant me his bike to go pick Rube’s first aid kit up. I got there and back somehow in one piece don’t ask it was peak hour and eeeeeowwwww!!! 2 1/2 hours later the girl is shining again with new bits that we got used to today and love them. It’s also a bonus to have brakes J It only cost $5 labor for that time crazy so all up we did pretty well I reckon and very happy ending. I was a bit late but still managed to keep my skype date with he folks. I literally debriefed the day on them poor darlings then took a deep breath and was good. Thank you Ma and Pa xxoo Today we headed out to enjoy Hanoi. The city’s an enmeshed mish mash of old and new typified in the old quarter. It’s a classic old part of town with narrow alleys and a myriad of streets. The lonely planets quotes, ‘A mass of motorbikes swarms through the tangled web of streets that is the old quarter, a cauldron of commerce for almost 1000 years.’ How articulately described and spot on!!!! We spent the majority of our time in here as it was enticing once you got amongst it. It was also the best people watching place and with it’s size and maize outsiders got swallowed up so it had no tourist trap residual. Right up my old town alley yay !!!!!! The book took us through a cycle of the city highlights and focused mostly on the old town. The city otherwise is grand and green with a number of lakes and parklands dotted throughout. It is tree lined with most streets having a leafy canopy. The buildings are layered French colonial architecture which beautifully compliments the green city look. There are many museums and temples but we stuck to the street views and people watching poking amongst the craziness which was entertaining and interesting in itself. I tried to take lots of pickies to capture our day which have finished uploading now. It’s time to finish up there and attach the photos from he last days of posts. On towards Haloing Bay tomorrow. Talk soon x PS I’ve included two poems from the last days nothing about Hanoi but they fell out of my head so what the hay!!!!

Beautiful is passion
inside out
right way about.
You are shining
with a sun inside your heart.

Fashionable beauty
inside out
right way about.
You are styling
your design inside your heart.


Where did I leave you
this time round?
In a box or on the shelf?
I found you where I left you
waiting patient in the mirror
for me to smile back.
‘I’ll hang around
this time round.
We’re safer on your face
smiling together.’

Published by shecyclesolo

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.' H D Thoreau

3 thoughts on “Post # 66 Hanoi

  1. Hey Buddy, Still reading and enjoying your journey. The National Park sounded beautiful and loved the pics. Enjoy Halong Bay, it is especially freaky with the mist early in the morning. They do canoe trips too if you get the chance. We were told the area used to be full of household rubbish from people living in their boats on the bay, until they bought in a system to pay the locals by the boat load of collected rubbish. Now it’s a world listed pristine national park! Should do the same with Morayfield I guess! Safe travels.

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