Hanoi work trip
I was in Hanoi early this week for work, in total spending 4 days in this sedate & somewhat mellow city. The weather was really cool (both in the literal & figurative sense), alternating between 14-18C in the day. It was such a refreshing change from hot, humid Singapore, and since I was always in & out of the car and indoor meeting rooms, I was happy with my long sleeved shirts and cardigans. Everyone else, however, was decked in puffy jackets, scarfs & the whole winter get-up, and constantly fussing over me. Are you sure you don’t want me to bring you a jacket? Are you really sure?? Well I said I was fine, but I did catch a really bad cold on the last day. OH WELL…
They put me up at Sofitel Plaza, which had a splendid view over the Red Lake & the West River. The rooms were not too bad, but after more than a year of crazy jet-setting, I must admit that the novelty of staying in nice hotel rooms has worn off somewhat. But they had L’occitane toiletries!!!! Which I love. I really have an inexplicable attraction to nicely packaged mini toiletries. *happy*
Room service while finishing up work
Anyway, I didn’t really explore Hanoi because number one, I had no frigging time, and on the last night when I did drag myself to venture out to the streets, there was really nothing to do! I guess Hanoi is characteristically un-touristy that way. There is almost zero signs in English, and locals don’t fan over you and put you on pedestals because of the tourist-money that you can undoubtedly bring to their pockets (unlike most places in Thailand, which stood in stark contrast).
In Hanoi, people pretty much mind their own business, and precisely because they do, there are so little establishments catered for tourists & entertainment in general. There was absolutely nothing to do other than walking & soaking in the pure Hanoi atmostphere. And MAN you cannot imagine the kinds of things they cramp onto their motorbikes. A cage filled with live pigs, dogs, all stacked onto one another in a sad pile.
Normally when people bring me out for meals during work trips and ask me What kind of food you don’t take? I always say that I eat anything. And it’s true! I have quite an international stomach & survive well almost everywhere. But in Hanoi, you really need to be specific. No Thit co (dog meat), no fried insects, no half hatched duck egg (I was told that this is nutritious & good for breakfast). Even though I’m Chinese, and technically speaking Chinese eat anything, I think this time i’ll stick to good old chicken, thank you very much.