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Hanoi Visa Run

Monday, November 14th, 2016

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Having flown into Thailand without getting a visa beforehand, I only had a 30 day tourist visa. So I flew to Hanoi using the convenient online Viet Nam visa application and stayed at the Paradise Boutique Hotel in the Old Quarter for a week. For $40 for a visa stamp they met me at the airport and scooted me through immigration. For an extra fee they even met me at baggage claim and took me to my hotel in a van. So different than the old days!

My old haunt, the Classic Street Guesthouse nearby had tripled in price since I stayed there last. And the Tamarind Cafe is no longer there…replaced by another. To my surprise I did find a new Mexican Coffee Shop and Cafe…the name of the shop is Xupito! Pretty close to chupa pito!!…!!!!! (which means suck dick!) Jajaja…really…change the Xu to sh/chup pito. Or Xupito could just be referring to a drunkerd who drinks a lot

A former couchsurfer in Oaxaca is there where he started The Bamboo School to teach music to young kids in the countryside and is playing gigs with is sax and electronic boards around the city. This is the second time we’ve run into each other in SE Asia…the other time on the street in Bangkok. I love it!

The streets are much busier than before…especially in the Old Quarter where sidewalks are taken up by people selling and cooking and eating where there aren’t parked motorcycles so that you have to walk in the congested street.

Mad Cow Disease Or…?

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

The demonstrators are still at it in South Korea, I see on CNN tonight.

When I was in Hanoi this month I was sitting on the front steps of my guesthouse waiting for a van to take me on a day trip when all of a sudden a tall, young good looking guy appeared at my side. He was obviously Asian, but never knowing if you are talking to an American, or an Asian from some other country, I asked where he was from. South Korea he said. Then we traded travel stories.  He is traveling long-term.   He has excellent English and is obviously well-educated. Hmmm, well-to-do, I thought. He wissoft-spoken…not anything like his older countrymen that I have come across.  I said that I had noticed that a lot of South Koreans weren’t happy these days. He laughed. Oh, yeah, he said, we don’t like your country selling your beef to us. But, I said, we aren’t getting sick from Mad Cow Disease. Then we get down to it.

South Korea has a strong long-held tradition of dissent. My son’s best friend, Mike, who lived in Seoul for 10 years teaching English told me once that many young demonstrators are paid by in-country interest groups, like the many unions, to demonstrate. Every week almost, there is a demonstration against something…they’ve got it down to an art, he said once.

However, in this case South Koreans are not so much unhappy with the U.S. as they are with their own new President. He has disappointed them. He is not conforming to the will of the people on many issues, my friend in Hanoi said. Like why do we have to buy beef from the U.S. which competes with our own farmers. And your beef is more expensive than ours. Why does our president have to do everything the U.S. wants? Seems his new president is a little too chummy with us. You wouldn’t know this from listening to the media reports in the U.S. But, he said, we have a soft spot in our hearts for you Americans because you defended us in the Korean War. Then we talked about how the U.S. wants a lot of things from many countries. Then his van arrived. I have to go, he said, as we shook hands and said goodbye. As he darted for his ride, he looked back and said, “I don’t want to leave you!” Of course I loved that conversation! This is one of the great moments when traveling.

Joshua Visits His Mother

Saturday, June 7th, 2008
Well, enough of politics and the weariness of world crises. When I couldn't get a visa for a three day trip to Burma (should have used a travel agent instead of going to the embassy myself) and to keep from losing ... [Continue reading this entry]

Hanoi Not Burma

Friday, May 23rd, 2008
Well, I gave up on getting a visa to Burma. "You retired? What was your last job? What organization did you work for?" And he didn't like my passport. Too many stamps from too many ... [Continue reading this entry]

Jazz In Familiar Old Quarter Hanoi

Friday, April 1st, 2005
I had to check out of Thailand...thought my visa was 90 days that I got in Kunming in December but it was only 60 days. So at the end of March I had to pay a hefty fine at ... [Continue reading this entry]

‘Peaceful Evolution’

Sunday, October 20th, 2002
In Viet Nam, the enemies of the Communist Party, in the absence of conflict, has become the democracy and human rights promoted by the forces of 'peaceful evolution.' Enemy jets unload tourist dollars and foreign investment rather than bombs. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Getting Blessed

Thursday, October 3rd, 2002
Getting into Hanoi late on the train after visiting Sapa, I walked into a hotel down the street from the train station because I was going to leave again the next afternoon on the train for Dang Ha in Central ... [Continue reading this entry]

Hanoi City Tour

Wednesday, September 25th, 2002
Wasn't excited by the city bus tours so spent an entire day riding behind a motorcycle taxi guy to visit the One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature and the Martyrs Monument erected to those who died fighting for Viet Nam's ... [Continue reading this entry]

Hanoi

Wednesday, September 25th, 2002
KtJTxGv4eiozwJxI0Lb6qM-2006216170118412.gif September 24 2002 Bob left Hanoi right away on the train for Sapa near the Chinese border to do some trekking among the colorful minority villages and then to spend three days in Halang Bay ... [Continue reading this entry]