It has been a while since I have been enveloped by full sensory derangement. The flight to Hanoi was uneventful, Laos Airlines are a great way to fly. Our baggage was flagged as disinteresting and we began the negotiations to purchase passage to Hanoi.
Numerous taxi horror stories litter the pages of travelfish and we were advised to take a minibus. A minibus was found and we were advised to patiently wait inside. It appears the minibuses have an ulterior motive. They are used to roast tourists in 35 degree heat until they stagger out ready t0 hitch a ride on a sturdy looking garbage truck if one is handy.
So a taxi was chosen. The motorway and massive bridge into Hanoi was impressive and it was in Hanoi that the experience really took off. The scooter to car ratio in Hanoi must be about 50-1 and you do not feel safe in a car. I imagine a sloth with an allergy to bees wandering into a bee convention would feel safer.
The taxi promptly tried to drop us off at the wrong hotel. A suspiciously helpful 'reception' man met us on the street, told us our hotel was full and he could help us out. After asking him why he was not working on reception, leaving the car and checking that the name of the hotel was in fact not our hotel and using a few choice expletives we managed to get the taxi to take us to the right street. The taxi tried to triple charge us our fare. Luckily my chief war time negotiator was on hand to do some hard talking.
Sadly our hotel was fully booked. The negotiator was sent off on reconnaissance and after bypassing one we have found a very good hotel. The one we skipped tried to show us one of their rooms, which was full, and pass us off to this other one for the same price. My negotiator got very bossy and made sure they showed us the room we could actually stay in, at a separate hotel, which we got at a better price. The lady then managed to ring us here to try and get our business back for tomorrow night, saying hers was nicer, which is a truth bend of magnificent proportions!! Got to love persistence I think.
Hanoi is very beautiful it has to be said. We are looking forward to exploring over the next couple of days on foot. But first we have to get food. Wish us luck!