Our departure from Prague on December 18th was incredibly stressy. My mom was still hanging on the work phone when we were on the runway. We flew with Qatar Airways, and they were great. We had only two hours in Doha, which we spent in a cafe, before another six-hour flight to Danang, located in central Vietnam.
Right after we arrived, we withdrew everything what the first ATM had (I already know what it’s like to be a millionaire hahaha), and then we started to bargain for a ride to our hotel. We got the lowest possible price at the second driver, and while the guy went for his car, the first driver stopped by us and stole us. We were leaving with open doors and wailing tires, hahaha. The next morning we flew straight to Hanoi in northern Vietnam, where the biggest adventure began.
To acclimatize a bit, we took a quick look at Hanoi, which fascinated us, but I certainly can’t say we fell in love with it. The most fascinating thing about any big city in south-east Asia is the traffic. I was told that it was crazy and it’s exactly the way everyone says. There are absolutely no rules in traffic, there are no traffic lights, no one respects the signs. Basically everyone is going, no one is stopping, pedestrians are calmly walking in between the cars and motorcycles, and in some mysterious way they never hit each other. All of them are constantly honking to show that they are going, so the chaos is really perfect. It’s no exception that there are five people sitting on one moped, including domestic and farm animals. As we headed for a walk, we were 100 percent convinced that seven million Hanoians took their scooters and set off on the same route at the same time.
Another phenomenon is food. There is an incredible number of garages in every street where you can buy something to eat. You have a feeling that you are sitting at someone’s home and the impression is magnified by the staff and guests who are often wearing a pyjamas, regardless of the time of the day. Pho can be found on every corner, but we’ve also tasted other specialties, whose names I don’t remember, but the only thing we avoided were the chicken claws. It’s good to know that all that’s fried basically lies in five centimeters of oil. The meat is exposed to dust & dirt and I doubt that people know what hygiene is, so if we paid attention to the conditions in which the food is prepared and how they wash dishes, we would never eat anything. By the way, I still have doubts about what animal the meat we ate the first day came from.
Visiting one of the garages was quite an experience. No one asked us what we wanted to order. As soon as we sat down, we got rice paper, some leaves and some egg omelette drowning in oil. I struggled for a while, trying to make a roll, but after a while the lady couldn’t hold it, came to my, pulled my leaves out of my hands and wrapped my roll herself literally in five seconds.
What I would emphasize is Vietnamese coffee, which is really unusual. I’m a cappuccino girl who doesn’t drink anything but coffee with milk froth, but here I’m really enjoying the Vietnamese coffee. It is a strong black coffee with a layer of condensed milk.
Because neither of us like dirty Vietnamese cities, we spent only one day in Hanoi, and at 9pm we went to the main bus station and caught a “sleeping” bus in the direction of Ha Giang, but more about that next time! 🙂
All pictures taken with a Nikon Z6 + Nikkor 35 mm f1.8 or Nikkor 24-70 mm f4.0