Next day we walked the streets with Kat and Hanno. Nothing new, just checking the shops and seeing what’s changed. And believe me, Hanoi has changed since my last visit. Prices are higher, housing is making way for businesses and there are four or five KFCs including one at the top of Hoan Kiem Lake where we had lunch. Madness.
As the day wore on I seemed to develop a rather annoying cold but managed to survive by eating all my remaining painkillers. And drenching a hanky. And every paper tissue I could lay my nose on. Not a pleasant way to spend a day.
Back at the hostel Kat discovered that her package had turned up so she could leave the next day. To say she was over the moon was an understatement! We also met three lads from England who were here to volunteer at a small village outside town, playing with children and attempting to teach them English. We took them to the City View where I found that the prices had gone up, but so had the quality of food and service although the menu’s still a little bizarre. I had pork with an apple sauce, potato, pasta with tomato sauce, and veg. Yes, potato and pasta on the same dish. Weird.
Of course, we followed that up with Bia Hoi. Back at the hostel, my attempts to buy a beer were met with cries of “put your money back in your pocket! If you don’t know how to get your own beer now, you shouldn’t have come back!”
I ended up tending bar (for myself and others) for an hour. I was also informed that next time I was just to check myself into the hostel and not bother the staff. I’m going to try that…
Afterwards I had a late night tapping away on the laptop as an Irish guy and an English girl sat near me in the otherwise empty bar telling each other how fantastic they were… before sucking tongue and finally leaving me in peace before I was sick. Seriously, people – there are alleyways for that kind of thing. Think of my sanity.