Lets get right into this thing:
1. Hanoi city does not offer much if you're a South East Asian male EXCEPT for the wondrous price of beer - USD1 for a 500ml bottle of Tiger! USD1.50 or 2 for a Heineken depending on the location. I have heard from some of my friends in Thailand that they like the Hanoi women espcially since they supposedly have larger bobos but I failed to notice much in that area.(hey I'm just repeating my buds from the North!)
2. The ladies will love the Old Quarter which comes across as a Petaling Street on steroids - 37 streets of cheap stuff - one street dedicated to each product line - shoes, clothes, toys, bags, etc. But as a whole I found the products butt ugly as it seems to be aimed at blind retard tourists because I never saw any local wearing the stuff hanging from the stalls.
3. The food is somewhat lacking in spices and definitely not something that stands up to our Malaysian fare especially compared to the variety we have here. Of course I didn't have the time to check out the real street food at the 'squatting stall's where every one's parked on low stools, sipping away on some good looking broth. Ayevielim, the kind babe who took me under her wing in Hanoi did sample it and said it was awesome.
4. There's still some bits that tends to surprise - all manner of freshly killed hogs tied to small little 'cub chai' bikes, the skinny buildings that seem to stretch out to the sky and the the women in office clothes on bikes, complete with colorful printed surgical masks.
Ayevielim and her chick lit.
Look at the pretty colours ma! Yeah, okok. Sorry...
Cramped and slumish as it was in some areas, some made an effort to spruce up their shops.
Venom wine - that's a pickled cobra holding the scorpion in its mouth. Most awesome. Supposed to give you an erection to pummel a concrete wall.
Tony Roma's Hanoi branch.
View from most imaginatively named joint in town - the City View Restaurant at the edge of Hoan Kien Lake.
5. Hanoi has the best undiscovered extreme sport in the world- crossing the friggin' street that's perpetual swarming with bikes that don't stop for anyone! After a while it was a great adrenaline rush as we realized that like a weird swarm mentality they would move around us when we barged into the flowing traffic on the road. We'd just have to blow caution to the wind and step out onto the busy street. Of course with the law of averages and all, there was one minor accident witnessed as two bikes clanged into each other. And the best part was the riders just looked surprised and quietly put the bikes up and went along their way.
The Hang Be Night Market - Best place for cheap crap to give away to that annoying secretary in the office who expects gifts just because she books your flights for you.
Bad shot but surreal as the break dancing boys were having fun under the obviously pissed of statue of some important dude (dont know his name and hey this isn't Lonely Planet)
Culi Cafe - a typical travel agent cum cafe for backpackers. We booked the Halong Bay trip from here.
Masked Rider Version 25.0
Mother of Masked Rider
Old Quarter street scene. Could be in Petaling Street except we replace the biker girl with a Rempit clown.
Old Quarter stuff
Holy sugar candied sweetness Batman! Kill me now!
Ladies, start you engines...
Some of the hats quality were not bad. The only one I liked was covered with 3 years of dust. I've got very exclusive taste you know.
The Propaganda Art Gallery. The coolest stuff in the Old Quarter. Unfortunately the merhandise were all at designer prices. At first they wouldn't let me take a picture of the vintage posters as this is supposedly a very sensitive subject with American tourists who accuse the Vietnamese for not letting go of the past. When I said I was from Seremban they could only smile and offer me cow's milk brued coffee(i jest of course. The woman get fed-up of my incoherrent babbling). But they did request me not to use the flash. How nice.
There were some cool posters and t-shirts that were hard core Communists propaganda themed.
All in all the Vietnamese are nice folks although they give shit directions. The pirated copy of Lonely Planet made us feel like we were in the Bermuda Triangle with pubs and roads that did not exist AND we realised that food recommendations were based on Mat Salleh taste buds eg Pho24 a highly recommended beef noodle chain served noodles that would be outshone by any Maggi in a cup cooked by a drunk ferret with a lisp.
The weather however was lovely especially at night when we sat 5 stories up at the open air roof top of the City View Restaurant that overlooked the lake with the horns and lights from the hundreds of bikes and cars swirling around us on the roads below. The cool, cool evening wind just wouldn't let us stop drinking, whispering promises of better times ahead if we stayed on and ordered another round. Did I mention the beers were cheap? Thani Darr Vietnam!
Upcoming, the extremely excellent Halong Bay!