13 months
Dec 7:
cyclo vs. moped
Dec 17:
ha long bay & cat ba island
Dec 18:
hanoi low down
Dec 21:
food, glorious food
Dec 22:
vung tau
Dec 24:
ambassador colonel sanders
  Dec 26:
ho chi minh low down
ho chi minh
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Halong Bay
Vietnam, Dec 17, 2004

good morning, vietnam!

[After Hong Kong, we spent a few days in Bangkok, but we’ll be going back there briefly a month from now, so we’ll add that section to the site later.]

Our first night's sleep in Vietnam last night wasn't so great… tap tap tap tap… we groggily awoke to the same mysterious noise that was going all night… tap tap tap tap… we both imagined that it could be any number of things, so we were anxious to pop out and see what it was… tap tap tap tap…

lots of tapping going on

We were surprised to discover that the noise was caused by people carving gravestones. They carve each one by hand, and it is just our luck that our hotel is on a street full of gravestone vendors.

We would soon learn, after wandering around for the day, that many streets in Hanoi are like this; there are multiple vendors of the same type right next to each other, often selling exactly the same stuff (some of the streets are even named after the type of vendor, e.g. Pho Hang Bac = Jewerly Street and Pho Hang Bun = Vermicelli Street - yum!). In some ways, this is very convenient since, as long as you know where the kitchenwares street is, you can do all your comparison shopping very quickly. But heaven forbid you want to buy anything else while you’re on the kitchen wares street… no dice. We found the shoe street, the metal works street, the Buddha statue street, the musical instruments street, the decorations for wedding celebrations street etc. With the exception of the metal works street, any of these would have been better places for a hotel. Our situation was further exacerbated by the confusing fact that at least a few of the gravestone tappers seemed to work all night. There was a brief respite in late morning, but other than that, it basically never stopped.

So far, we absolutely love this city, but we have to find a new hotel or we’ll never get any sleep…

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