good morning, Vietnam

Last week, Touk and I grabbed a tuk tuk and made our way to the Luang Prabang Airport! A while ago we had booked a trip to Hong Kong for some much needed rest and relaxation. Our cheap tickets meant a long layover in Hanoi, which we fully embraced.

The mini-bus from the airport cost us USD$4 each and took us directly to our private Vietnamese accommodation, an hour ride from the airport terminal. 

We arrived in the evening, so after dropping off our bags we headed out into the dark of Hanoi lit up with twinkly lights strung along rows of trees lining the streets. We grabbed food at a restaurant not far from our home for the night. 

I had the vegetarian rice noodle bowl. Peanuts, chili sauce, shredded carrots, rice noodles-- basically everything good about Asian food. I ate almost my whole bowl and washed it down with a can of Coca-Cola for a whopping USD$4. 

As a side note, Vietnam uses Vietnamese Dong as currency. However, you can also use U.S. Dollars at almost everywhere. Just be prepared to receive your change back in Dong! 

The next morning we woke up early {I'm talking 4:45 a.m.} so that we could catch the sunrise at the morning flower and fruit market. 

The market was absolute chaos. Water puddles, flower petals, fish heads in buckets, strange fruits, garbage, and angry people yelling in Vietnamese. I got caught up in everything going on and completely forgot to snap the sunrise. 

I had read about "Coffee Street" on my favorite travel blog and was looking forward to taking full advantage of every cafe on the avenue. Hanoi is famous for its coffee scene...but I was not impressed. THE CAFES DON'T OPEN UNTIL 8 A.M. That's not a coffee scene. If your coffee houses don't open by at the very latest 7 a.m., you don't have your shit together. Hanoi, fix your business. 

We strolled around Hoan Kiem lake and watched as people meditated in the park, practiced Tai Chi, and participated in group exercise classes. All without any coffee from Coffee Street. 

Fear not, dear readers, we did manage to find a cafe that was open near a busy roundabout. It was here that we sat and sipped while watching a couple take engagement photos in the middle of the road. Nothing says love like a classic smoggy backdrop.

Hanoi, it was so short, but thanks to the United States multiple entry visa I acquired, I will be back as often as physically and financially possible to make that bad boy worth every penny. Who would have thought it would be Vietnam that let an American into the country so easily without a single question and not New Zealand? 

Thanks for the good morning, Vietnam.