Hanoi tour

After writing the blog yesterday I went for a dinner with Anthony, the Korean guy I shared a room with, and an "almost-40-year-old" Japanese friend of his. We went to Little Hanoi which was supposed to be a great restaurant - which it very much turned out to be as well. The food was really good and the price was not that bad either. I also ran into the Australians that I met earlier the same day, so I decided I would try to join them for the water puppet show after their dinner.

While waiting for them to finish the three of us went to the local beer corner and drank fresh beer for 2000 dong per glass (i.e. 1 SEK) which was really good (and to a nice price as well). We also started talking to a Vietnamese guy sitting next to us. He was just about to begin his PhD in environmental engineering (about air pollution) in Japan - so he saw a great chance in learning some Japanese from the Japanese girl. We talked quite a lot and it turned out that apart from working at the university he also worked as a guide in Hanoi every once in a while, so I asked him if he could show me around town today. Said and done, we decided on a price (which was nice for me 'cause I didn't have to go via a travel agency and nice for him 'cause he probably got a bit more than he would from the agency as well) and decided he would pick me up at 8 AM in my hotel.

After a few beers on the corner I joined the aussies to the water puppet show and their tour guide managed to get me tickets even though it was full which was very nice. The water puppet show was actually really funny and interesting - but I'm happy that I did drink a couple of beers before, otherwise I might have got bored like some of the Australians.. After the water puppet show we went to the Funky Monkey bar and danced the night away. I had a great time with the six (or so) Australians, dancing and laughing and being silly mostly. After haggling a good price and getting lost a couple of times I managed to get home with a motobike around 2 am. A bit too late, but I'll sleep some hours in the afternoon instead.

The guided tour of Hanoi today was really great! My guide speaks excellent English (since he has done his masters for two years in the Phillipines in English) and knew a lot about all the things we visited in Hanoi. During the day I've seen a museum (which was really good - probably the best I've been to so far), a couple of Pagodas, the Temple of Literature (which is the first university in Vietnam, built in the 11th century) and some other sights. He also showed me the Hanoi institute of technology, the university where he works and have studied which was really interesting. All in all a very nice day.

Now I'll just kick back in my new hotel (where I pay $2 for a single room which I haven't seen yet - I hope it's ok!) and later go to dinner with the Australian girls (Sophie and Lucy) that will be back in Hanoi by then. Hopefully a early evening before going to Halong Bay tomorrow. In Halong Bay I will stay for one or two nights probably, so don't expect any blogs from me meanwhile.

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