Sunday, June 20, 2010

Next Stop Hue

Here are Angel, Mom and Dad at breakfast at our hotel in Hue. It was a nice change from our hotel in Hanoi.

Last Morning in Hanoi

More guavas! After this purchase, we rushed back to the hotel where everyone was waiting for us to go to the airport. Our cab driver parked illegally while loading the car and refused to give the army officer his papers when requested, so the officer jerked him around and marched him to the police station. We scrambled into another cab and barely made it to the airport on time!

Hanoi 7: Dinner

In the basement of a big apartment building after a long drive to the suburbs.  Andrew's "Where are we?" look.

All the shoes by the front door.

Mom and Dad in the seats of honor.  Notice Mom's cute haircut.  See more pics of the food at the end of this post.  For a non-adventurous eater like me, this was a very long night.

Every time this woman's cell phone rang, everyone laughed at whatever she said.

The hostess has a restaurant.

More guests.

The fried rice was delicious.

Hanoi 6: The Hair People

Sarah, one of the church members, wanted to do Mom's, Angel's and my hair, so we spent an afternoon in her salon.  Andrew was sad that he had to come along (we were going to dinner with other church members right after), but he brought his phrase book and practiced Vietnamese on the pastor. 

Here are three of Sarah's assistants.

Having my hair straightened before Sarah cut it.

Sarah and me.  Can you believe she's 52?

They did Angel's hair just the way she likes it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hanoi 5: The Shoe Guy

This enterprising guy noticed that Andrew's gym shoe was torn and offered to sew it. Unfortunately, we didn't negotiate the price before he began. Whenever I'd ask the price, he'd answer in Vietnamese, "It won't be too expensive."

Not only did he sew the tear, but he scrubbed the exterior, added new laces, and inserted scented insoles. When he finished and we asked the price again, he said, "250,000 dong." He and I both laughed at that number. We finally settled on 150,000 dong, which is around $8. I don't think he had to work the rest of that day!

Hanoi 4: Scenery

Hanoi 3: The Train Station

After figuring out that Window 2 was not designated for English speakers (contrary to what The Lonely Planet said) and that we needed to take a number and wait our turn, we found out that the overnight sleeper cars to Hue were sold out.

Here's Andrew asking a travel agent for options over the phone.

One option was to take this $13 "sleeper bus" overnight for 14 hours (this picture is from a poster in the travel agent's office across the street from the train station).  We opted to fly to Hue the next day for $74 each.  It was worth it. Another tourist later told us about the bossy Vietnamese grandmother who wouldn't let them turn out the light in their sleeper car, so it looks like the flight was especially worth it.