After quiet Laos, Hanoi assaulted the senses, all of them. We arrived on a Sunday night on 4 day holiday and it appeared all 97 million Vietnamese were on the streets fighting for an inch of space. Crossing the street was a deaf defying miracle each and every time. The funniest was the area blocked off for pedestrians, which you think would be safe but picture 500 (no exaggeration) kids in battery operated vehicles all determined to knock you off at the ankles.
We escaped the frenzy for a day at Halong Bay and a boat ride. It was beautiful, reminded me of Phuket but more crowded.
I had a great time taking a Cyclo and exploring the old market. Folks were selling there wares everywhere and every bike and scooter was a transport device. It is simply amazing what they can carry on a scooter.
One of the big tourist spots is visiting Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum where people wait in line, sometimes for hours, to walk past his body. Before we approached the facility, I wasn’t feeling I wanted to visit the mausoleum and “honor” this person. When I got in, that feeling got much worse. I got a smothering feeling of oppression and Communism when I was at the tomb. They say you are really seeing his actual body and face, it might be wax as he died in 1969 but it sure looks real. A man stood at the end of the tomb saluted and deeply bowed with tears streaming down his eyes. Then I went outside and my tour group was taking selfies and smiley pictures in front of the building. I got overwhelmed and asked for an escape route. I have no problem with them honoring their national hero, but I’d rather not be invited to that party. Fortunately the rest of Vietnam is pretty interesting and enjoyable.