Hungry in Hanoi

I’ve been in Hanoi for two days. I’m still suffering from a minor case of Ho Chi Minh’s Revenge. You’ve got two choices during a trip of over a couple of weeks: avoid eating or drinking anything that seems remotely dangerous and get sick after 2 weeks, or eat whatever you want and get sick after a week and a half.

Today I went to an Italian place that my guidebook suggested and the neighbor said it closed 6 years ago. I went to another Italian place that managed to make lasagna with bread in it and no sauce. It’s hard with my current lack of appetite to eat the volume of Vietnamese food that I need right now.

Hanoi is a little crazy. Imagine a city of a billion people. All of them are in the streets or on the sidewalk. All of them are either offering you a ride on their motorbike, offering to sell you their motorbike, or offering to run you over with their motorbike. The sidewalks are filled with parked motorbikes, so you have to walk in the streets. Look five ways before you cross the street and keep your head on a swivel while you’re crossing. Don’t move quickly, stop, or change speed suddenly because then your motion is unpredictable and the river of motorbikes won’t be able to change their vector to avoid yours. Nobody checks their mirrors unless they hear a horn, so everybody honks all the time.

What ever happened to the idea that it’s hot in Vietnam. It’s cold and damp here now. I wish I brought my long underwear and an electric blanket. Plugging an American electric blanket into the 220 volt outlets here could be heartwarming.

I’ve been looking into a five day riding tour through the northwest on a Russian-made Minsk motorcycle, but I’m not feeling up for it right now. I’m going to head to Halong bay on an organized two-day tour because it’s beautiful there and I’m feeling lazy. After that, I’m getting out of here as soon as I can. I’ll probably fly to Phnom Penh. I’ll take more pictures of the craziness tomorrow.

2 Comments

  1. jimmers

    Jason,

    Have I told you the story about my roommate from Princeton that went to Vietnam? :) What in the world does that guy have in the beige bag on the back of his motorcycle?

    –Jim

  2. Pat

    hey, at least you know its not yellow fever. :) hope you feel better soon.

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