The train ride was a sleepless one, as the train kept jamming its brakes, almost throwing me off my upper bunk, and of course, in the morning, I discovered that my wrist band from Sapa disappeared. 😦
Getting into Hanoi at 4am in the morning is one of the worst ideas in the world. As the train pulled into the station, all the touts wre already lining the platforms (how in the world did they get in?), waiting for the passengers to alight. In the mayhem, I lost the Korean boys, as there were more than one exit. Thankfully, two Canadian girls were kind enough to allow me to share the cab with them, though I ended up at Ma May, not exactly knowing what to do till sunrise, except to take the longest time in the world to eat my bowl of pho ga.
It must have been one of the longest waits for the sunrise in my life, as I paced up and down Hang Bac and Hang Be, waiting for the various shops to open up. After more touts circling round me and asking me to lodge at their hotels, that was when I decided to just move on from Hanoi, on the very same day, if it is possible.
Annoying as it is, morning is also an interesting time to watch Hanoi rise from sleep to work. At around 06 30, vendors gathered at the street market along Hang Be, selling stuff like fresh fruits and vegetables; overloaded motorcycles and cyclos also whizzed by, carrying things like a 2m high bouquet of flowers, and in the most hilarious situation– four dead pigs! This was a Vietnam that was oblivious to my existence, just humming along on its own. I think I like this Vietnam.
The magical hour finally arrived, and after some haggling, I finally managed to get my open ticket for USD 17. Perhaps due to my scare on my second night in Hanoi, I just stuck in the old town, passing my time reading, chatting with the guys operating the guesthouse, surfing the web, and buying novels. (Yes, I finally got the Da Vinci Code!)
Good bye Hanoi. I’m glad to be leaving. Maybe Hanoi will treat me differently when I speak her language.