From Hanoi to Binh Hoa

  • By Daniel
  • 2010-06-08 23:06:00-0700

Because our flight had been changed and was no leaving that night, we had another day to kill, so we took no care to wake up early on June 2nd. Tien was craving bao cake so we went and got that for breakfast, and of course coffee. While we were lounging around wasting the morning that we had hoped to be traveling, I got another disappointing e-mail, this time from the Consulate in Saigon. It said they were raising the prices of the visa application from $131 to $350 taking effect 8 business days before Tien's interview. At least it wasn't worse, saying they were no longer taking interviews or something like that.

We checked out, walked around and hired a bus to take us to the airport later, then went back to the ol' Quintessence of Hanoian. It was a nice, cool day, perfect weather. Overcast enough to keep the temperature cool, but still bright enough that it wasn't gloomy, with a cool breeze to keep the air fresh. Perfect weather to while away a spare day drinking coffee by the historic lake that Tien used to dream about as a girl. Unfortunately we had too much time, and that cafe had no wireless, so we went to find another place to stay. We found ourselves at the best ice cream shop I've ever been to. Fanny Ice Cream. If you're ever in Hanoi, go there. It's amazing. They don't have food though, but somehow Tien and I managed to stay there for hours surfing the net, eating ice cream and drinking fruit juice. The food part as a poor decision because we ended up not being able to get food before it was time to leave for the airport.

Traffic on the way to the airport was typical Hanoi traffic, too many cars on narrow roads. There was an accident with a car and a moto, and one with a bus and a cow. I actually enjoy sitting in Hanoi traffic though because looking at the scenery is fun. The architecture is great, and for some reason the whole city is just eye catching to me. If Tien and I ever have to move there for work or something, I will not be disappointed.

We finally got a chance to eat after checking into our flight, then we went inside the secure area to wait for our plane. I decided to stand since I'd been sitting most of the day, and it was interesting to see what everybody was up to. I saw a man with a bright duffel bag full of souvenirs, and it suddenly dawned on me that the tourist people on my first trip to Hanoi who had given me a bag intended for me to use it to fill with souvenirs. My progressive minimalist mindset hadn't even considered that fact. I wouldn't have bought anything even if I'd realized it, but it was amazing that a year later it suddenly made sense.

On the plane I read the first digital version of Wired on my iPad. Magazines just seem so disorganized, but I like the way they're going with this. If they make it easier to navigate and somehow make order of the smaller articles it'll be very appealing, but otherwise I'm still happy with RSS. I also played a lot of Plants vs Zombies. I finally made it back to about the point I was at before Tien's nieces unwittingly deleted my user, not understanding the word "delete" in the menu.

We arrived in Saigon at about 10pm, but our bus didn't leave until midnight, so we again took the slow approach to travel. We went outside the airport and sat down to have a drink and some snacks. The air down here was also nice and cool with a slight breeze, and I wished the weather in VN could more often be like that. Tien and I talked about America and what we'd do when we got there.

Our taxi to the bus station had a car stereo with built in karaoke features, though we didn't use them.

Our bus to Binh Hoa left at midnight and we arrived home at about 4:30am, just before sunrise.