Hanoi!

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Getting to Hanoi was kind of a bitch.  Once we landed in Ho Chi Minh City we entered the lane that was clearly marked “passports”, because there was no proper signage saying we needed to go to a completely different line in the back of the room.  So after waiting in the passports line for roughly 30 minutes, we were told to go to a different line to get our Visa. First, you hand them your eVISA, then wait till they call your name; which can be anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.  Then you gather your passport and visa to go back to the passport line, and you better have a ticket of when you leave Vietnam or else they will not be letting you through. After doing all of this we then had to leave the arrivals and go to another building for our departure to Hanoi.  Something I am having trouble adjusting to is the fact that people here do not care about personal space. They get so close, we may as well be wearing the same shirt. Also, something I can’t figure out is people not giving two shits about cutting in line. No matter which line you’re in for whatever reason, or how long you’ve been waiting, someone is bound to walk up and get right in front of you with a look of “whatcha gonna do bout it?”  I have not been brave enough to try this myself. At our first Airbnb in Hanoi, the adventure was just beginning. I still do not know how we got out of there with our lives. It is mind-blowing the first time you see the driving situation. I have never seen a better example of organized chaos. I am pretty sure the street signs and lights are just there for the show. If traffic was stopped and someone did not feel like waiting they would literally just drive up on to the sidewalk and pass all of the traffic by.  Or if people actually did stop for a light, without fail, there would be someone who didn’t want to wait and would just drive through the traffic and the light even with oncoming traffic in the way. We literally saw it all. If the traffic was going to slow someone would just jump the medium and drive the wrong way through oncoming traffic. After seeing all of this without any wrecks, it made crossing the street a little easier. Along with all of the hecticness of this, people had their own language they would speak through the use of their bike/car horns.  I imagine no matter the pattern of honks, they all meant get the f**k out of the way. The people here have been patient and extremely helpful. I’m pretty sure they know how to spot confused travelers’ faces from across the street. The street sellers could be pretty aggressive. There are women walking around selling banana filled donuts which they literally try to stick in your hand as you’re walking by then make you purchase it because you touched it. I’ve learned to run from these women. The street animals are so sweet! I read so much of not touching the street animals due to the possibility of rabies, however, the dogs, cats, cows, and goats have all been friendly, it’s the damn chickens you have to watch out for.  We’ve already been chased down the road by one. The food has obviously been amazing. It seems that there are five main dishes throughout the northern part of the country. The meals cost us about $1 to $4 a person. The coffee is insane. I imagine the coffee here is comparable to chowing down on a handful of espresso beans. You can judge how strong it is going to be by the amount they give you. The beer sucks. Still no diarrhea. If you want a fast-paced city, I imagine Hanoi is the craziest we will find, but I am ready to spend a few days on the slow island of Cat Ba now.

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