The arrival at Hanoi's International Airport went very smooth and we were out in no time. Of course, the airport looked a bit like a relic from USSR circa 1950, but they are building a new one just next it. Or so they say, it is all boarded up and you can not see any activity beyond the boarding.
Our driver from the hotel met us at the airport, with the sign "Hotel Meracus welcomes Mr Hans Carlen". Very cute.
The trip to the centre of town took some 30 minutes or so.
The general driving here, of course, is nothing Australia. Cars, and more to the point, motorcycles are coming from all directions. They have roundabouts, but these are even more chaotic. The pedestrian zebra crossings are there as a "decoration" only. So are lines dividing lanes. Quite charming the whole thing really.
Many buildings are quite nice on the outside, colourful and quite decorative. Of course, look at the same building from the side, the colour scheme is usually various shades of grey. 50 or so...
Many other buildings are crumbling or just incomplete, perhaps when the money just run out.
Once at Hotel Meracus, which is next to the lake and right in the shoe district, we receive a drink of some pink, lukewarm liquid while the formalities are gone through.
After a quick shower and change of clothes, we are wandering around the street. It is hot and humid, early 30s.
Walked around Hoan Kiem lake like the locals and studied the map a few times as we explored further.
Early refreshment at Gecko cafe, some spring rolls and bargain half litre tiger beer for equivalent of 50 cents.
Tired and early night to sleep, without any proper dinner. Very nice room and comfy bed, zzzzz....