Plans today were grand, but as usual, in much smaller scale in reality. Though I wanted to visit quite a number of museum, I ended up just going to Ho Chi Minh’s memorial and the Temple of Literature, trekking back to my accommodation on foot.
There must be something about English menus, but I stopped at the cafe by the Hoan Kiem Lake. It’s actually pretty nice to sit there and chill, enjoying the view of the lake.
After my late lunch, I decided to visit the Dong Xuan market, though I don’t like it as it was rather dim and crowded that I got worried about my possessions.
Today, I had my first taste of Vietnamese food, which included a bowl of pho, something resembling the local goreng pisang and a stick of barbequed meat. The pho tastes like the localised version of wanton noodles, perhaps only better and cheaper. The “goreng pisang” was also equally good, with the banana flesh meshed to the right amount and tastefully sweet; so was the bbq meat great and succulent– and they come cheap as well!
However, my experience with their local food markets wasn’t as funky. The smells coming from the markets is terrible, and there’s all kinds of trash on the floor, making me squemish. It almost feels as if I stepped on some animal’s brain.
Another experience that dampened my stay in Hanoi is the touts on the streets. First, it’s the cyclo driver who cheated me of 5000 dong under the excuse that he didn’t have any change, though I personally think he did. Secondly, when I sat down on a bench at Hoan Kiem Lake, some tout just started harassing me, using almost every method to get me to buy his stuff, failing which he started cursing me and trying to throw the book at me! That really ruined my day!

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

One Pillar Pagoda

Temple of Literature (Van Mieu) – one of the oldest universities in Vie tnam

Fresh Produce Market in Old Quarter