Good Morning Vietnam!

So many long flights. Flying to the other end of the world can be tiring. Toronto, Delhi, Hong Kong to Hanoi. But we are here, finally here. In our noisy little hotel room above some of the busiest streets in the old quarter.

All ready to leave for our great adventure!
The flights were pretty good as far as flights go. On the Toronto to Delhi flight, Greg paid a little extra for emergency exit seats so we could stretch our legs out, and bought us inflatable neck pillows so we could sleep. And sleep we did. The food was pretty good on the flights (if you like TV dinner level Indian food).

We ended up being delayed for a couple of hours in Delhi, but still not enough time to leave the Delhi airport. We also do not have Indian visas. The new way that some airports are going is that in order to get free wifi, or even paid wifi, you must give them a cell number and they will send you a code. Great… except you are in an airport in a foreign country and do not have cellular service to receive a text… And yes, there are those sites that will simulate a cell number so you can receive texts without a telephone, but, there is the catch 22, because you don't have wifi. We finally found a lounge upstairs that sold us wifi for $5US. 

Delhi Airport
We were supposed to go up the mountain in Hong Kong, but we landed a few hours late We are only going to have just over six hours and now, we had about four. Not really time to get all the way there and back. It was quite overcast and hazy and we couldn't really see the top of the hills, so we figured we wouldn't have seen anything if we went up there today anyway. We went downtown. It was Sunday morning, and most things were closed.  We asked someone and they directed us to a lovely little local Hong Kong style breakfast place. The food was good, I got eggs and fish and Greg got beef noodles. The people beside us were really nice. We walked along the elevated walkways and through some of the crowded streets and took some photos in the centre of Hong Kong, and then high tailed it back to the airport just in time for our flight.

Must do this in Hong Kong - All the Hong Kong people seem do this in photos when they come to  Toronto!
Busy Neon Streets of the downtown shopping district
So cool these tall narrow streetcars - wish we could have taken a ride:)
Our Hong Kong Breakfast.
Greg and I in Hong Kong
Beautiful green spaces in downtown Hong Komg
When we got to customs, we handed in our pre-paid, visa applications. They didn’t like our photos. I had wrongly assumed that it would be ok just to print them on card stock and they wanted real photos… They sent us to the other line. Twenty minutes and $100US later, we exited with our visas. Apparently when you pay extra, the crappy printed photos are ok. I asked if I could pay in Euros and the customs officer beamed, “Of course madam!, 100 euros then!” We paid in $US. 

The hotel representative was at the Hanoi airport pick us up with a sign that said “Greg and Elsine”. It was really close. The hotel is quaint. Yes, that means a little old and worn and not sparkling new. The towels and sheets are a little dingy and the corners of the bathroom contain hard to clean away grime from the 1800’s, And it is wonderful and everything we expected. If we come to south east Asia, it is not to stay in name brand cookie cutter hotels, but to experience life. The staff are lovely and very hard working. They helped us get a bicycle-taxi ride around the old city. We ate at the little restaurant the hotel suggested for $5 for so much food that we had to send the rice and the yogurt back without touching them, We then went across the street for a 90 minute massage. The hot stone massage was heavenly for me and perhaps a little less than heavenly for Greg, judging by his screaming. Then off to sleep perchance to dream. Tomorrow we are being picked up at 7:45 for our Tulong bay cruise.

View from Gia Thinh Hotel overlooking Hang Bac St in the Old city
Poor little Minion tied to this woman's hair by his penis.
Great breakfast in the hotel - better than expected.