So braving Hanoi on my own first thing to learn is how to cross the roads which is a technique of just walking out and scooters manoeuveing around you. Scary! Taking a walk through the old quarter you can’t even walk on the pavements as full up with motorbikes, food or general other thing’s being sold forcing you to walk more in the road where you just get beeped at.
Eventually come across the main Hanoi lake and a nice restaurant overlooking the lake and the big roundabout which gets all sorts of scooter drivers loaded up. It’s called City View Cafe and is good for my staple dish of veg noodles before braving the roads again! Bit of normality.. Reach St Joseph Cathedral which is nice , reminds me of Barcelona a little, has a few people sitting inside. After walking through mostly authentic Vietnamese streets, there is a Nine West, Burberrys and Cartier shop amid the scooters chaos so look very out of place. In the evenings outside these shops people come from all over Vietnam to get marriage photos and can be up to 15-20 there per night as they like the expensive looking back drop. I also see a wedding by the lake it’s definitely very common here to get wedding pictures with nice backdrops, which around the lake is and you have local Vietamese with the traditional hats tending the gardens and local policemen trying to keep the traffic in order
Heading back I pass the water puppet but not so keen to see as worry it might be like the cirque sole il in Vegas that had puppets and made me sleepy. So instead I stop off on the famous coffee street with everyone sitting outside on tiny little chairs and settle for a more trendy looking cafe called desert cafe and get a much needed frozen passion fruit smoothie and sit looking out at the million of scooters going by which all day as been a nightmare for crossing roads.
So the final outtings for the city are a cool place called Lantern Lounge and Base Bar Lantern has a cute balcony looking over the street where there are street performers doing spice girls and has a funky eating area all lit in red where you sit on cushions and have to take uour shoes off. Base bar, drawn in due to the london underground sign they have is much livlier playing house music and the group im with, doing a bucket and Jeagar shots which isn’t going to help my early start for halong bay.
23rd October 2015