I had no idea about cities. At least not for the last few weeks. Living on a farm and in lazy traveler towns has slowed my pace significantly, and stepping off a small, quiet, beautiful airplane (loas airlines) into a bustling, dirty, crowded city, was jarring.
Tonight we flew from laung Prabang, Laos to Hanoi, Vietnam. The Laos airport was spotless and lines were short. They somehow found scissors in my carry on… again. Walking out on the airstrip, surrounded by mountains and blue skies, we are greeted by the small plane and her attendant. In the sky, a sea of clouds the sun turns orange, then purple, and blue boxes are distributed. Inside, three triangular, crustless, white bread sandwiches with different colored fillings. One yellow (cheese), one pink (ham), and one tuna-colored. Accompanying the sandwiches, a green cake/bread object with green filling. Nothing here resembles food.
My last beerlao is free and finished in sky, just over the mountains of Laos.
Visas cost us four lines worth of waiting and an additional 45USD. Less colorful and sparkly than the Laos visa but the process is much more official. The men behind the glass hold the processed passports, pressing the photos up for the crowd to view and claim one at a time.
A taxi, 20USD to the old quarter, so we wait for our mini bus to fill with humans. 2dollars is more reasonable, Vietnam will be expensive. 45 minutes driving through a crazed city, seas of motorbikes weave through each other, bicyclists with no lights or helmets play along.
We wander to the hostel and walk five flights to a small air conditioned room with lockers and outlets!
Dinner, in a big way, happens on the streets. Sidewalks are packed with groups perched on colorful, tiny, plastic chairs sharing food. We go for it. BBQ
Mostly, I have no idea what we ate, but it was delicious with warm beer and I’m on the edge of sick today.
Writing from the bus – headed to Cat Ba Island for three nights before moving on South.