Discovering Hanoi

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On the 31st of October we continued walking around. First we bought a book to find all nice areas to visit in Vietnam so that we could define a program. We arrived in Hanoi without any information about the highlights to visit as we did not know whether we would volunteer or do tourism … later we decided we would rather volunteer in Cambodia as we heard about a place where we could help taking care of babies…

Walking to the West lake, me saw many couples making wedding photos. It was really nice. Walking further we ended up in the temple of literature where a lot of lovely young people were very well dressed and making photos in big or small groups. Nino thought they were certainly celebrating the end of school. One of the girl confirmed us they were celebrating for this reason. We made photos with some of them and we left the temple and walked furthermore around visiting other areas. However as it was already more than 4:00PM many were already closing.
As we came back we decided we would go dancing salsa after dinner. We went eating in a small local restaurant. It was OK but nothing special. We then walked to the place where we could dance. It was opened from 8:30PM to 10:30PM quite unusual for European salsa time.
The price was 25000 Dong (a little less than 1 euro… ). I was sure Vietnamese people would dance good and I was right 🙂 Indeed many dance very good. A woman I suspected being a teacher danced a cha cha. I had never seen that … that was really the best cha cha dancer I had ever seen. I invited some girls and Nino was invited by very good dancers. It was fun. As one girl made compliment to Nino on her dance style she invited me for a dance. It turned out she could speak very good french as she studied in France … in Toulouse … where I studied too … Funny … Another European guy was in the middle of the local people. She told me he was french too … many surprises. We spoke a little with the guy and 10:30PM came quickly … however I invited the woman being a very good salsa dancer before we left. I was right she is actually a teacher. After this we came back home tired but happy to have danced.

On the 1st of November waking up was a little harder. We also decided next day we would go visiting the Ha Long Bay in a one day trip. We expect to see there a lot of tourists. Furthermore we decided our next city would be Hue. It is located around 1000km south of Hanoi. We checked the train which is leaving at 6AM requiring 17 hours with soft sit and being more expensive than the bus having beds. Kind of 1st class. We spent the rest of the day visiting. First we went to the Cathedral and our plan was to continue visiting the french quarter. However after visiting the Cathedral we came to know french people had destroyed one of the most important Buddhist temple to build their Cathedral. Being myself french this removed me any will going to visit the french quarter. Thus we decided to go first to the army museum which we did not like that much being too tiny and then went to the women museum. This was great. Getting out we were looking with much respect at all the women working very long hours in the street selling, repairing, caring of the waste… They have really a hard life. It was as well interesting how strong they were during the war against Americans and how their roles contributed to the Vietnam so that he could get rid of their invaders. We then came back tired and went quickly for a short dinner … by chance we met a woman selling mango and bananas. Here mango are so incredibly good that we try to eat some as often as possible … they are furthermore cheap … Tomorrow we have to stand up at 7:00AM for the Ha Long Bay trip …