27th Sept to 28th Sept 2014
Another welcome drink, another attempt for us to buy a tour/train ticket from them, another raised eyebrow exchanged between us, another hurried walk to the lift. We had been upgraded to a balcony with city view room, same view as before but we had the option of standing outside in the 32 degree heat too. Our power shower had been replaced with a spa bath which was fun.
Relaxed for a while before getting ready and making more attempts to dodge the thousands of bikes that were in our path. We went to a BBQ buffet and it was amazing! We picked what meat we wanted and they BBQ'd it on our table, we had beef sirloin, pigs heart, pork belly, ribs, and then we also had the cold buffet which included oysters and sushi. My first time in 26 years eating sushi and I liked it! (I didn't pick any with fish though). And there it was, a huge pile of chicken feet, so we both tried it. It was rubbery and yucky. We then washed all that down with ice cream and fruit.
After our scrumptious dinner we wandered through the night market (only on on weekends). Shannon had read it was notorious for pickpockets so we were very cautious, and were fine. After a few stalls selling clothes, phone cases, jewellery etc they started repeating themselves. I spotted a lovely blue and white dress and tried to haggle, she wasn't having any of it as it was good quality, but said she'd do a deal if I bought two, so I also picked a burgundy and white patterned dress, both are really really nice, for around £6. Wandered back to our hotel and relaxed, Shannon stayed up really late to watch the Arsenal game on tv.
Breakfast in the morning consisted of us cramming as much as possible in our fat faces, Shannon made the most of the chef cooking fried eggs, and I ordered pho again with extra spices, I was sweating! However this morning the electricity had went out and they were on the roof with a generator but it wasn't working for over an hour, we were back in our room roasting, we had seen management at breakfast and they apologised but we couldn't complain again as the phone was dead and the lift was out of order and we weren't going to walk down the 7 flights of stairs again.
Anna had said at breakfast that due to the issue with having to pay for the kayaks on the boat trip, that they seemingly didn't know about, that they would keep our room until 4pm instead of 12. Which is good for us, as really we have seen and done all we want to do in Hanoi already.
There was other things we could've done like visit the sunken US B52 bomber but I researched it and it seemed over hyped and difficult to find. So feeling like we've been here too long we were happy chilling in our room- if and when the air conditioning started working again.
It started working again and we lazed until 4, good job we were having a day in as Shan has took the first bout of not feeling well, maybe not surprising after having 5 buffets in a short time with such varied options. Feeling well enough to venture out we went for lunch/dinner and had more coffee at Highlands Coffee.
Then went back to the hotel and collected our bags, the very friendly staff then ordered us a taxi to the train station. The staff were really friendly at the Golden a Palace and if go as far as to say I might miss them, even in Anna was a bit full on and eager to make some commission from us.
A 10 minute taxi ride later and we arrived at the once obliterated train station. We already had our tickets which we had purchased through the hotel, and although we were early, the train was there, so we hopped aboard and found our bunk beds. We were joined on our 4 berth soft sleeper by two Swedish girls who we chatted to briefly. Then I got stuck into my new book as I already finished reading the amazing book of 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' earlier and left if in reception and exchanged it for 'Held Hostage'.
We paid around £50 for this train ride, we thought it was a bit expensive but we did appear to have a clean cabin, but we would soon found out that Vietnam has no consistency for prices on modes of transport.
Writing this now as Shannon and our room mates sleep, lights are out and we are chugging our way south. We should arrive in Hue (pronounced like the 'whe' in 'where?') around 0950 after departing at 2010. The train is quiet and not too bumpy apart from stopping at stations when we come to an abrupt halt, I keep worrying that Shannon will fall out of his top bunk and fall on the small area of floor, or worse on me. It's almost midnight now and although the train thankfully has a normal toilet, which is down the other end if the carriage I'm starting get the faint smell of stale piss wafting through. Maybe it's time for some shut eye.
More Vietnam blogs here!