So first stop – scarf, gloves and beanie from street vendor. Paid equivalent of $5 but all three. I know he’s fleecing me (bad choice of words considering the climate) but WTF – did I mention I’m freezing!
We are staying just outside the Old Quarter right near the train station. Very handy if you want to catch a train of course and for Brad and myself great that we have to walk ½ hour to get to the quarter as it gives us a chance to get lost every time we go or come from anywhere. The Old Quarter and lake are the original skinny streets with all the same type of vendors lining each street. You want a funeral wreath – just one street will give you an amazing opportunity to purchase all you require for a great send off. Hammer? Spanner – try the hardware street – or Bunnings as we were calling it.
So there I am on my butt with what had to be 40 little Vietnamese people grabbing and pulling me back onto my feet. I felt like Gulliver! It was hilarious – it friggin hurt, but I’m still giggling here writing about it. So after about 15 minutes, the Gulliver incident and a mild to serious claustrophobia attack we emerged out the other side relatively unscathed. Bizarrely – it was the only time in the entire time we spent in Vietnam that we didn’t get asked to buy something. In a market. Huh?? Who can explain. Maybe because there wasn’t room to get your wallet out…
Like everything in Asia, services are pretty cheap so I decided to go and get my hair done. $400,000 dong – which is about $20 for foils. Cool – how bad can it be. Well I think that I was probably the second person ever that they had done foils on. They certainly knew what to do but I got about 12 (yes 12 total) and it took them about an hour to put them in. All sorts of horrible technical issues which I won’t bore you with but I truly believed that I was going to walk out of there with Halle Berry hair. I honestly thought I could see the foils melting the hair off my head. But – to their credit – I seem to have a reasonably full head of hair still. I can’t see the difference at all so who knows maybe they did just melt down the plug hole, but it was a great way to spend the afternoon. In the warm with 6 people fussing over you, the best head massage I have every had and unlimited Vietnamese coffee which is my new favourite thing.
- Hotels around the lake are off that main esplanade. You have to get into the back streets to find the hotels. Look for the entry ways. There are a lot and they are affordable so you shouldn't have trouble finding one.
- Food is everywhere in that Old Quarter, good and affordable.
- Nothing really happens till around 10am so if you are up early you will probably have to breakfast at a more western establishment.
- Enjoy the coffee - it seemed heaps nicer up here.