AHfter reading a very positive online review about a 2 day boat tour of Ha Long Bay we were sold enough to void our non-refundable flight back to Ho chi Minh. To make the tour work we had to book a new flight a day later which meant we had a day to kill in Hanoi. Unfortunately everything we had read about Hanoi made it sound like everyone there is out to scam you. This was evident with the Ha Long Bay tour company we booked as it was the “Real Kangaroo Cafe” and not one of the 10 others of the same name. The girl who was asking Justin and I for money to go to school didn’t help our view either. After politely saying no and after a sales lady who saw the situation violently shook her head no at us the sweet girl turned venomous, hissed at us, got on a man’s motorbike and sped away. So it should not be surprising that we did very little in Hanoi. We caught up on sleep, laundry and mailed a box of souvenirs and unwanted clothing home. Should see that box in 3-11 months.
This is a bit sad as the old quarter does have character which HCMC lacks. We had met a lady in HCMC that had been to Hanoi so we asked her to compare the two cities. She preferred HCMC as it is “more sophisticated.” That same night we were wandering down a street in HCMC and a cock fight broke out right in front of us. When the nearby authorities came over to see what the commotion was about they promptly put money down on the larger, less sick looking bird. You stay classy Ho Chi Minh City.
Thankfully we would have another evening on our return from Ha Long Bay to give Hanoi a proper chance. Till then Hanoi, till then.