A Travellerspoint blog

April 2014

Welcome to Hanoi... CAN YOU SPEAK UP PLEASE!!

overcast 32 °C

When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable, it is designed to make its own people comfortable. - Clifton Fadiman

Foodie moment

Pho is one of our favourite breakfast foods (well any time food!) and since we were in the home of Pho we headed out to find some good traditional noodle soup! Surprisingly one of the highest recommended Pho venues was a chain called Pho 24. As Mark's stomach was feeling a little iffy we thought a clean, western type venue would be a good idea! And it was good..... not great but still enjoyable, just not that different to anything we enjoy at home. In the evening, I wanted to head to the recommended Little Hanoi (9 Ta Hien - be careful there are numerous restaurants of the same name!) Situated on the 2nd floor of a building overlooking the Beer Hoi area we enjoyed an amazing meal. Mark was still struggling so it was up to me to lead the charge - make your own rice paper rolls, delicious fried Spring rolls and an amazing Caramel Beef... I was in heaven! It's just a shame Mark was unable to enjoy it as much with me.

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Cultural moment

If one thing resounds with you whilst in Hanoi (maybe that should read echoes in your ears) its the noise! One of the biggest factors is the constant, uninterrupted honking of horns. People honk their horns every time they pass a car, motorbike, bicycle or pedestrian, just as a "I'm coming through, get out of my way!" signal. There are no road rules in Hanoi so with vehicles and people all over the road, you can jut imagine the chaos and noise that ensues!

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Wow moment

The old quarter of Hanoi is like a shot of adrenaline to your blood stream. It is busy, it is crazy, it is overwhelming and it is exciting! Walking through the tiny, windy streets dodging bikes, street vendors, sprawling street restaurants and whole families sitting outside their house means you always need to be alert, but its never boring! The layout of the city is also amazing. Each street is named after the product that is sold on that street and every single shop sells purely that product! This means there is a sunglasses St, metal St, tools St, underwear street, shoe street and many more. You just don't know what you're going to see when you turn the corner. One of our particular favourites was chicken wire street - who knew there was so many different types of chicken wire in the world - and considering I did not see one chicken that wasn't completely 'free range', what are they using it for?!?

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What we learnt today

This was a tough lesson to learn, but unfortunately one that would rear its ugly head again during our trip to Vietnam. In Vietnam you can get sick from nothing! We ate the same food, used bottled water for brushing our teeth, didn't eat ice and closed our mouth during showers but still Mark managed to get incredibly sick whilst i stayed healthy. We really have no idea how he got sick! Fortunately the worst was over after 24 hours and Mark was back up and at it. Till next time..... (Lucky we had a really nice hotel room to recover in!)

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Posted by travellinglise 05:55 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hello again, our old friend Hong Kong

overcast 29 °C
View Euro trip 2013 on travellinglise's travel map.

"Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world" - Tien Yi-Heng

Foodie moment

We're back in Asia so where is the first place on the foody list - Yum Cha of course! We headed to the famous Maxim's Palace Chinese Restaurant. A bit of a mission to find but once you're there it is amazing! Chandeliers hang from the ceiling, panoramic views of the water out of the floor to ceiling windows, and the staff are wheeling around little trolleys filled with bamboo baskets filled with all sorts of goodies! I was in heaven!

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Cultural moment

Yum Cha means "drink tea" in Cantonese Chinese. Although I love Yum Cha for the dumplings, the tea is just as important to the process, and it all fits perfectly together. As Yum Cha is often enjoyed as Brunch or Lunch, tea seems a better idea than beer (or bottles and bottles of wine! :) )

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Wow moment

One of my favourite things about Hong Kong, and in particular Hong Kong Island is that even in the middle of all the glass, concrete and skyscrapers, you regularly come across small parks, green oasis' in a concrete jungle. It's so nice to be able to just step off the street and out of the hustle and bustle, into quiet pockets of serenity so you can slow your thoughts and catch your breath.

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What we learnt today

Best initiative ever!!!! In Hong Kong, at Central station, they have something called City Check-in. Basically you can check in your luggage with your airline, 24 hours to 90 minutes before your flight, and they will ship your luggage off to the airport. It is great because it leaves you free to sight see around the city after check out with no bags tying you down, and you don't need to get to the airport as early to check in. Why does this not exist in other cities!??! So simple but a travellers dream!

Oh, and here's a picture of Disneyland at night as we flew over it :)

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Posted by travellinglise 05:39 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

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