Sunday, January 18, 2009

First Day in Hanoi

All I can say is that I just had one of the most eventful days of my life. So far, I am completely in love with the city, its dirt and noise and traffic and especially the chickens and roosters that seem to live outside my window.

I started out the day with my Australian roommate, we went to a nearby vegetarian restaurant. As we were walking and talking I found it hard to keep my focus. This was the first time I experienced Hanoi, and so I was eating up every single sight. We curved around alleyways trickling with people walking, cycling, and on motorbike. The occasional vendor passing by, snippets of ground-level workshops with people wielding and mending, small restaurants and cafés. And this was only in the alley to the main road!

The vegetarian restaurant, Ha Thanh (#116, Alley 166, Kim Ma Street, Ba Đình), specialises in mock-meat dishes. I got a sort of barbecued sausage dishes that came with rice and a soup, and cost only about 2$ Canadian! They also have a vegetarian breakfast pho which is only about 75 cents. So I will be back!

After a long walk into the old quarter to get my Vietnamese SIM card, I called a Vietnamese friend and hopped onto a xe om, a motorbike taxi.

Imagine me clutching onto my dear life on a xéom, hoping the sesame and peanut milk I drank at Mr. Bean Dream didn't suddenly give me an inconvenient gastro-intestinal 'reaction.' Imagine never having ridden on a motorbike and then doing so in Vietnam!

I held on as hard as I could and just took in all the amazing sights. People whizzing back and forth on the narrow streets like rockets or fireworks shooting up into the sky before exploding. Thin and narrow buildings that reach 6 or 7 storeys with shops at the ground floor, and small street vendors huddled on the sidewalk diligently filling up empty bowls and empty stomachs!

I thought 'this is what a true city is!'


Jeannette said...

I couldnt even handle riding in Motto's car to the onsen. I'll never make it on a motorbike.

I'm glad there's food in Vietnam!

Jeannette said...

Wait, so now you can eat rice?

Liz said...

that sounds beautiful! i'm glad you found nice roommates. please post more pictures! :-)