VIETNAM: Hanoi

 The last day or so of our trip we spent in Hanoi wandering about, doing some last minute touristy shopping, and eating…a lot of eating. We also got to see a friend who is currently living in Hanoi and she hooked us up with a Vietnamese stone massage and showed us around in the evening to a good eel place and bar.
Encountered St. Josephs on my short walk to retrieve a lost item from our
Encountered St. Josephs on my short walk to retrieve a lost item from our “luxury van” that returned us after our cruise.
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Found a most delicious Banh Mi place and was so engrossed in the effort of eating this was the only picture I managed. A bit of a walk from our hotel, but overall a great recommendation from the hotel staff!
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A bit more posing with the locals. Luckily I wanted to take a hat home, so we only really got heckled by the banana lady (we didn’t want bananas that day). :-p
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In our travels we happened upon a memorial of one of the previous leaders of Vietnam and took a look around. It was a very pretty garden setting.
I really liked the pattern on some of the walls and pillars.
I really liked the pattern on some of the walls and pillars.
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The entry to the temple of the jade mountain (Đền Ngọc Sơn) that we encountered on our walk around the lake of the returned sword (Hoàn Kiếm).

I was waiting for David to go back across the bridge and get us tickets (while I took some pictures) and he was apparently stopped and asked for a picture with a Vietnamese girl. I wondered why it took him ~10 minutes to get tickets when there wasn’t a line across the bridge and it turns out he took turns having his picture taken with several different Vietnamese or Chinese girls (in the end he was not sure which). He guessed their ages could have been between high school and our age, but honestly had no idea and got very uncomfortable by the end. As I have mentioned before, getting pictures with locals is a common occurrence in China. He may have been spared this experience had I walked up with him, but then you wouldn’t be looking at this fascinating picture of the entrance!

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I love bonsai trees!
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David and I played the “what character is that” game while walking around the temple grounds, coming up with only a few matches. Vietnamese used to be written in characters and actually used classic Chinese characters for a majority of their writing. Now they use their own take on the roman alphabet with all sorts of slashes and squiggles that I unfortunately can offer no more insight on than I have just described. I decided since I was trying to learn Chinese at the time, it was probably best not to try to learn another, very similar, language lest I get confused.
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Watching the calligraphy master inside the temple!

IMG_0460One day I plan to take a class here in China to learn to paint some of the characters. It was fun to watch how the brush strokes give it even more “character” (no pun intended). This one means happy/lucky, and shares that meaning with the same Chinese character I believe.

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After our stone massage Megan took us out for some delicious Eel and noodle dish.
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The “group” shot.
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The “you’re not interesting enough, throw up the peace sign please” shot our waitress recommended.

And thus ends our journey through Vietnam. Until next time.

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