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We arrived in Hanoi and our first impression was the traffic: lots of motorbikes, squeezing themselves through the streets and the few cars and busses. Crossing the street appeared an adventure in itself: close your eyes, step on the street and hope the people will find a way around you.

Hanoi traffic with lots of motorbikes

Mirjam selling pineapples

Of course, after some time you get used to it and you hardly even notice the noise of the engines and the claxons. And about crossing the streets...  we even managed to do so while carrying a load of pine-apple.

Motorbikes !!!

The Hoan Kiem lake is an important meeting point, especially on Sundays. The Ngoc Son temple lies on a small island in the lake. Here you can see the turtle who once gave a sword to the king, so he could win the war.

Hoan Kiem lake

Chinese characters

Of course, you can also burn some incense for your forefathers. Or you can play a game that looks a bit like Go (or Wei Qi) with your friends.

The temple at Hoan Kiem

Playing a game

At the lake we also found a group of children, painting colourful impressions of the lake. Their teacher gave them some tips in what they could improve in their paintings.

Drawing lessons

Interesting, the children in Vietnam paint a tree the same way children do all over the world, whether they're in the Netherlands, Turkey, or Kazachstan.

Throughout Vietnam you can also see colourful propaganda posters, with happy looking children and the portrait of Ho Chi Minh. The man on the motorbike in front of the poster doesn't like very impressed.

Communist murals

In the streets around the lake you can find anything for sale. For instance, hats to put on your motorbike-helmet to keep the sun away when you are driving through the city. Or festive decorations.

Faces looking at you

In Hanoi are lots of temples. Although they are marked on the map, we found several of them are private. Or closed.

The temple is CLOSED

Traditional Vietnamese music

Something you should definitely see when visiting Hanoi, is the waterpuppet theatre. Accompanied with traditional music, you see lots of short stories played with puppets, moved by sticks that are covered from the water.

Most of the stories are very funny, like the man who want to catch a fish with his basket, but ends up with catching his neighbour.

When visiting Hanoi, you can't miss the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum. Unless of course it is closed, like when we were here. Maybe he was of to Moscow for restoration?


One pillar pagoda

The One-pillar pagoda is another thing you just have to see. Preferably in the weekend, so you can also see Vietnamese people taking pictures of each other.

B52 in pieces (lots of pieces)

Having fun

The American war (as it is called here) is not mentioned very much. Of course, it ended decades ago by now. But when you find some-one who is willing to talk about it (like the guides in the Army Museum), you can see the lights in their eyes when they tell about sharpened bamboo sticks in fall-pits. 

Helicopter The railway to Saigon
We took the night train to Lao Cai, to visit Sapa. On the way out we didn't see much because it was very dark, but on the return trip we found out the train goes in Hanoi through narrow streets, with just a small path between the train and the whops and houses. Fortunately for the people living here, there aren't many trains a day.

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