Vietnam is so much more than we expected. Like the U.S. it differes greately from the North to the South, but that’s where the similarities end. During these first three days we were in Hanoi getting used to the traffic, learing how to cross the street, and generally getting our street smarts. We focused on learning what to eat and what not to eat as we give our bodies time to acclimate to the food. We are told to slowly ease into eating the street food as our stomachs will not be able to handle it at first.
Our trusty Hanoi guide also teaches us how to cross the road. Close your eyes he said and just walk. Don’t open them or look right or left or you will lose nerve and begin darting in traffic. This would surely get you run over because all the scooters, cars, bikes, etc automatically sense where you are going and just move around you. Therefore maintaining the same direction and speed when in the street in critical. the sights, sounds and smells are nearly more than our senses can take in. The constant horn sounds which are used differently than in the U.S., mean “look out, here I come, make way”.
The 3rd day of the trip we drove to an ancient area called Hua Lu which was the capital of Vietnam centuries ago. We went to the temple complex of Dinh and Le which also housed the Palace of the original capital. Tam Coc was our next stop where we paddled our way thru Three Grottoes. Named because the river actually passes thru mountains three times and you just paddle your boat right thru the darkness and out the other side. We had help paddling, well actually she paddled and I helped. I was amazed how she paddled the oars with her feet. It looked impossible but somehow it worked.
See the VIDEO
Stay tuned for the next part of the trip when we go to Sapa and hike thru miles and miles of mountains and jungle to visit villages and schools to deliver our supplies.