The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hanoi Excursion

Where's Adam been lately? Up in chilly Hanoi researching the new Traveller's Vietnam guidebook for Thomas Cook... and a few other projects in publishing... to be announced. I had a wonderful few weeks in Hanoi and I can actually say I think I may like Hanoi better than HCMC now. Hanoi and its citizens have a reputation for being more abrasive and less friendly than their neighbors in the south. That was my past experience as well. This time though, I found everyone to be warm, friendly, generous and overall I felt like Hanoi has taken a new turn for the better. Not once did I encounter prostitutes, drug dealers, scam artists or transvestites... or a combination of all three. I'm sure they are there, but they just aren't visible, while in contrast they've over-run district 1 in Saigon. Warning to animal lovers--you may find the third picture down on this entry objectionable.

Hoan Kiem Lake at the southeast corner of Hanoi's Old Town

Van Mieu or the Temple of Literature, an icon of Hanoi

Dog meat in the market, another Hanoi institution.

Interior Decorating at Restaurant Bobby Chinn on the southwest corner of Hoan Kiem Lake. Bobby is the host of Pilot Guide's World Cafe Asia (airing previously on Discovery Travel and Living), and guest on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and guest judge on Top Chef. Unfortunately this Hanoi icon is closing at the end of the month. Until Bobby finds a new location, he will host a smaller dining room and catering service at 77 Xuan Dieu Street.

Bad Monk. Pandering for cash is a big no-no in Buddhism, although a lot of monks and ex-monks can be seen doing it in Vietnam.

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