Exploring Hanoi a little more
Our last two days in Hanoi, and also in Vietnam, we spent roaming around the city and meeting up with locals. We took long walks through the French Quarter, the Old Town Quarter and we visited the Cathedral. We watched people go about their daily lives, and we had a lot of delicious vietnamese foods and other treats.
Since the days weren't very structured, this is going to be more of a collection of anecdotes.
We had egg coffee again, this time at Giảng Cafe really close to the Stella Hotel where we stayed, and here it was even a lot cheaper than in the first place, but just as good. We tried both iced egg coffee and the hot version and we liked both variants.
In the afternoon of day thirteen we met up with a couchsurfer, Tien, to have Dinner. Since it was weekend, the whole area around Hoan Kiem Lake was declared a walking street – no motorized traffic. A lot of people were out there. And a lot of people out there were interested in meeting foreigners and practicing their english for a few minutes. While we sat out there on a bench, talking, a group of students came by, saw there was some space left beside Tim and asked if they could chat. And while Tim talked to them, another guy came along and joined the group, queueing up for his chance to talk to us. Really funny, but also really cute – and this is kind of the essence of how we experienced Vietnamese people. Open, very interested, trying to learn and overall very friendly.
Later in the evening we went for some bia hoi. That's freshly brewed beer, you can get it at almost every corner for as little as 5000VND and, that's like 0.25€ or something – compared to restaurant prices of about 20.000VND to 30.000VND – per bottle. It's sold as draft beer from barrels and you have to grab it while there's still some left, there's limited supply.
While we sat out there on the sidewalk, suddenly a police car came up. Then everything happened really fast. Chairs and tables were cleared of the sidewalks and put into the shops in a heartbeat. As soon as the police car had passed and was out of sight, everything was moved back out again. It's a strange thing, but we saw it happen more than once. Not quite sure if it was for tourist amusement or for real. It doesn't change a thing in any way.
On day 14 in the morning we took a last short walk around the city, then for lunch met up with Phu, yet another Couchsurfer, who we really wanted to meet because he had told us he'd be moving to Germany soon. That of course that made for great conversation about the differences of both countries.
With Phu we went to have Bun Cha, another Hanoi Special that we hadn't tried before, at Bún Chả Đắc Kim. It was one of the real vietnamese restaurant, with tiny plastic chairs out on the steet. And the food was really good.
During lunch I spilled some Fishsauce on my backpack (the one I use for handbaggage) and I thought that was quite unfortunate for the people sitting beside me on our flight to Bangkok =D. Luckily I had waterproofed the back before our holiday though, so most just dripped off and it didn't smell too bad.
Afterwards we went to another tiny cafe overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake to have one last coffee before we had to catch our bus to airport.
And then it was time for us to say goodbye to Vietnam and move on to Bangkok.