I spent four nights in Hanoi and it is one of those cities where one week would not be enough.
I did fall in love with the city and I was thinking I would love to have a little pied a terre there.
I think if you would went there, you would want one too.
How about this apartment in this late French colonial in the inner suburbs of Hanoi?
10 minute drive from the center of Hanoi.
Situated next to a great school.
And a great view of the reminder of the victory of the Vietnam War.
No, it is not scrap metal.
It is the remnants of a U.S. jet plane that crashed into the lake during the Vietnam War.
It's left there because it's a morale booster.
It was the beginning of blossom season and the trees were budding.
This is the renown single pillar pagoda - as the name denotes - it is made from one pillar.
This was located right opposite the Ho Chi Minh Memorial.
There was the usual story line of the man's life and there was a rather sizable internal monument.
A statue of the leader of the new nation that is now independent Vietnam.
I find it odd how how gigantic and ostentatious the memorials are to men who were supposedly revolutionary simple communist men.
This was the "supposed" residence of Ho Chi Minh.
They like to say he chose to stay here as opposed to the ostentatious presidential palace below which was right next door.
It was a simple lakeside cabin with two rooms on top and a open meeting area downstairs.
The downstairs meeting area.
His private study upstairs.
Simple but it was quite Frank Lloyd Wright-esque.
I would not have minded living there myself.
I kept walking on the general compound that housed all these monuments and found this neglected house.
Forget that other flat - I will take this do-er upper!
And of course nearby were these beauties.
I came across the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum as they were doing changing of the guards.
It's nice they want to protect him but I really wanted to remind someone that he is already dead and doesn't need protection.
I dropped in on this trendy cafe in the street where most of the embassies were located.
Had my third of the Viet style coffee of the day that I was becoming addicted to.
I then saw a delivery guy unloading the goods that you see:
2 huge bottles of water. a case of coke, and four crates of beer -
on a moped!
on a moped!
This is Hanoi Flag Tower - 200 year old fortress tower but I just like the Vietnamese flag matching the coffee shop parasols.
You know there are certain people who you wouldn't cross the street to say hello to?
Well, Lenin is one of those for me.
|Monument to Lenin|
I had no idea what was behind the wall that had aged so interestingly.
So I decided to peer through the gates that happened to be a major tourist attractions with various buildings and monuments. I would have known if I did research so there is a downside to being so spontaneous...
Another wedding photo shoot.
This is the reverse Romeo and Juliet pose.
This was another one of many Taoist temples in Hanoi.
I was really surprised at how Taoist instead of Buddhist Vietnam was - even more so than China.
I adore this embroidered fabric cloth that was a totem used in Taoist ceremonies.
This temple was just opposite the famous Westlake.
I found these fish by the path alongside the lake.
They were flopping about and I wanted to throw it back and just as I about to pick it up...
I realized that they were someone's catch...
This was a very popular fishing spot.
Mind you the lake is huge for being located in the center of Hanoi. Its shore length is 17 km.
My destination was the pagoda on a little islet on Westlake.
The little pathway leading to the pagoda.
No wearing shorts or no short people?
This was a Buddhist pagoda.
There were individual Buddhas in each little enclave of this pagoda.
This was originally constructed 1400 years ago.
I decided to walk to Long Bien Bridge which was built in 1899.
I got lost and didn't make it but enjoyed the walk trying to find it.
Along the way I found entrepreneurship.
Love the makeshift barbershop.
You gotta watch out for those chicks on street corners.
But she wasn't that much of a naughty bird because she wasn't wearing red shoes.
The heat was still 30 degrees higher that what I was used to so hydrated with coconut juice and I never had a small opening cut for me like this...
You can't get fresher chicken than this.
Walked by some more beauties...
Look at how much is being carried.
I tried lifting it and I didn't even get it off the ground.
The women may be tiny but they are super Iron man strong.
Hanoi is just a general wedding hall.
Never seen so many weddings in a matter of days...
Love the Vietnamese women riding mopeds and still being stylish.
Hanoi is starting to catch on with working all the time even on the back of a moped.
A friend told me that there was a special rate she could give me for one night through her connections so I decided to check out of my hotel in Chinatown.
This hotel was so good I would recommend it and would stay there again.
I will miss this little alley.
And I went and checked in for one night at the Sofitel Metropole.
The fabled hotel where Graham Green stayed and wrote not to mention a lot of other writers.
Yep, another wedding shoot by the famous terrace cafe at the hotel.
What's with the straw briefcase?
I wanted to see the Graham Green suite but it was occupied.
But I got lucky and got an upgrade!
You see the open door balcony in the center?
That was mine.
I told my husband and showed him via facetime and he was scared someone could climb in...
He can be such a killjoy sometimes.
The lush and beautiful grounds.
The lobby - simple but the hotel is just over a hundred years old.
This open atrium with the chandelier over the lobby must have been a real innovative feature.
Do you see the banister on the center left of the picture below?
That lead to the war bunker that the guests used during the bombings in the Vietnam War.
There was a tour for the guests of the hotel to view the bunkers.
I just had to look around and notice how odd it was that there was a bar on the left.
A lovely pool to the right and yet underneath this was a shelter.
So I walked down and there was this very apt placard at the entrance.
The new management decided to start a tour only in the past few years.
Joan Baez and Jane Fonda would be some of the guests ushered down here during the raids while they were staying at the hotel.
They were able to hold about 50 people down in these little bunkers at one time.
The hotel also served as the Australian embassy after the war for a few years and apparently the Australians used it as a wine cellar and they found a few bottles when they were cleaning out the bunker!
Went for my dinner and my nightly two hour massage back at my old neighborhood.
This temple was a little spooky as it was empty and I was the only one there.
I also decided to go to a water puppetry show that the Vietnamese are masters at.
It was really cute and the puppets had quite a sophisticated range of movement.
The performers came out for their applause at the end of the show.
Pho the love of God.
I had this Vietnamese noodle dish called Pho every night.
This pho shop just happened to be on my original street.
It is called Pho Suong.
If you go to Hanoi - please try it out.
The locals were riding mopeds to come here and eat.
There was a table inside but I wanted to eat on the street just once.
So I grabbed a stool and ate with mopeds whizzing by.
This was the little massage place where I would have my two hour massages that cost $12.
Well, $15 if you include the tip. Loved it.
The girls were a bit shy to get their photo taken.
So after the massage I went back to my new home for the night
and saw this.
I never had dogs so I didn't know what this was but took the picture because I thought it was funny.
But then I showed the concierge to ask what this was and he explained in a very embarrassed way!
I really wanted to have a drink in the bar at the hotel hoping some of the writers' luck might rub off on me so I went to the bar.
Technically not alone because I took my iPad and talked to Mr. Coulda Shoulda Woulda on facetime!
The next morning I went for my final breakfast in Chinatown and I knew I had become a quasi local because I crossed this street with no hesitation and lived to tell the tale!
I quickly dropped by to the Opera house just next to the hotel.
There was a great cafe just next to the Opera house and had my last Viet style coffee.
I finally got to see Long Bien Bridge which was designed by
Gustave Eiffel on the way to the airport.
Some people are into plane watching but I love going under bridges.
I was so sad to be leaving.
I never thought I would be saying I would miss Hanoi.
Took me for a surprise and I hope if you haven't already been then please do visit.