A journey through South-East
Waiting for the quiet of night
Hanoi, November 29
VN-820 - that was the number
of the Vietnam Airlines flight that brought me from Vientiane
to Hanoi, from Laos to Vietnam. The taxi dropped me at the
Mahn Dung guesthouse, a 'friendly place', located in a 'small,
quiet street in the old quarter'. That is what the guidebook
said, and that is why Christina and I choose this place as
our meeting place, as our starting point for our trip through
Christina came with a long distance flight from Germany, and
what we both learned about Hanoi very soon was that 'quiet'
is a quite relative word. Compared to other streets in the
old quarter, our street was quiet... but compared to Laos,
it was way too loud. We spent the first night in Vietnam waiting
for the quiet of night to arrive, waiting for the city to
fall asleep, to give us a chance to get to the land of dreams.
Alas, it wouldn't.
The next morning, we tried our best to get accustomed to the
traffic and the crowds of people criss-crossing the countless
streets, while we tried to find the way to Hoan Kiem Lake,
"an enchanting body of water right in the heart of Hanoi".
Again, we had to learn that words and expectations are relative,
and it was there, at the lakeside, next to a four lane street,
that we decided to cut our visit to Hanoi short, and to get
out of this city of three million honking motorbikes as soon
A poster we saw in a travel agency promised emerald waters
and peaceful dreams: all included in a tour to Halong Bay,
'two days, one night, sleep on the boat'. It didn't take us
long to pack our bags.
Part 8: Sleep
on the boat
travelogue is part of the subside travelzine