Jeff's Mid-Life Crisis goes Round the World (RTW)
About Me (1)
HONG KONG (2)
* ST. ANDREWS
* FROM TRAVELER TO TOURIST?
* HONG KONG
* BANGKOK TO HONG KONG
* BANGKOK TO PHUKET
* PHNOM PENH
* ANGKOR AND SIEM REAP #2
* ANGKOR AND SIEM REAP #1
* CHANGES IN LATITUDE CHANGES IN ATTITUDE
* VANG VIENE
* LUANG PRABANG #2
* LUANG PRABANG #1
January 18, 2005
It's Tuesday morning, January 18th and I am now in Hanoi, Vietnam.
When I first got here on Sunday night I said to myself (since no one else would understand me) "Wow, I'm in Vietnam! I never thought I'd be here". Most of what Americans know about Vietnam is from the war and subsequent movies and books. So it was with a bit of apprehension that I landed here, especially at night.
This blog entry is out of order based on the sequence of my trip. I am falling way behind on this as I haven't even completed my Laos series and still need to write about the interesting and laid back fun and adventures of Luang Prabang, Vang Viene and Vietiane. I am taking notes and taking pictures to keep things fresh in my mind so when I find decent Internet I can write clear and entertaining blog entries.
Anyway, this entry is just a catch up on my first days in Vietnam and some pictures and comments on the past few weeks.
I'd like to tell a brief story about my first few hours here in Hanoi. I wrote this to a very, very good friend of mine in an e-mail and thought I'd share it with my blog readers.
I flew into Hanoi, Vietnam last night and what a shock it was!! After two weeks in laid-back Laos it like getting smacked in the face driving into, and around, Hanoi. Especially since I had no idea where I was, it was dark and the people drive like nuts.
That was my excitement for the evening and it was quite enough!!
Hanoi is a crazy, crazy place. Everything is noisy and hectic, in-your-face and crowded and hardly anyone speaks English. The only Vietnamese people who under me (or whom I understand) are at the guesthouses I've been staying at. For me this is the biggest culture shock of this trip, even more so than the poor villages of Laos. The traffic is just as bad as Bangkok and crossing the street and walking on the street is an exciting adventure. It's hard to describe exactly what this place is like.
This is just one picture of a very typical street scene in Hanoi. This picture is tame compared to most of the streets here (at least in the Old Quarter where I'm hanging out).
Oh, after a month on the road I finally got sick! I figured I would at some point due to the total change in lifestyle, eating and living. I've been pretty careful on not drinking the water (although I think it's easy to swallow water in the shower) and drinking alot of bottled water (and Beer Lao) but have taken chances on food. You just never know how things are prepared or how stuff is washed. I've witnessed so many places where raw meat and veggies are covered with flies and out in the sun and I know this is where some of the food places get their food.
I guess I've been lucky until now although I am taking a multi-vitamin and vitamin C everyday and am getting alot of exercise and fresh air. I'm trying not to let it get me down and don't feel too bad or sick and am drinking lots of water so I don't dehydrate. Also, I need to know where the nearest toilet is when I'm out walking around. I have seen and used some pretty interesting (and very disgusting) squaters here in Hanoi! A little Peptol Bismol and some bland food for a day or two and I'll be back to "normal"!
Here's a dartboard portrait of me!
This is at a place called Buddha Park outside of Vientiane, Laos
I have a bunch more Buddha Park pictures that are very interesting and will post those in the near future.
This may be the meal that got me sick, fried rice with pork. It looks decent and tasted good but it was at a roadside stand and the food prep area was right out front and there were flies EVERYWHERE. I probably shouldn't have eaten there but I was hungry and didn't see the flies until after I ordered.
Here's a picture of a food market. This may be tough to see but this is raw meat out on a counter. It's chicken and beef and those dark spots you see are flies.
Here are a couple of resting kitties from Laos. Cats are the same worldwide!
That's it for now!
Take care and talk at ya soon!
Thank you for reading this. I hope to make this blog both interesting and entertaining. Please post a comment and let me know your thoughts, observations or counsel. Hearing from readers and knowing I have an audience is a great motivator and will be a great morale booster during down times on the road. Don’t forget to bookmark this site and tell a friend! Please feel free to e-mail me at “JeffMichie at Yahoo Dot Com”
Posted by Jeff on January 18, 2005 12:48 AM
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