the cyclo ride


In kathmandu they are called Rickshaws, in bangkok they are Tuk Tuks, here in Vietnam they are Cyclos.

So- here we are in Hanoi the capital of vietnam- we are staying in the old quarter of the city which reminds me of Ktm- not as dirty- just tiny piles of garbage on the roadside.... but the energy is the same. Busy streets with sooooooo many motercycles going every which way- not shy about using their horns either...."its Kraisssyy" as Gephart would say!(our german trekking friend). So peter and I grabbed a map from the front desk and headed out around 9pm to find the restaurant that our guide Lan reccommended. Of course there are no visible street signs (like Ktm) and fearing for your life from lack of traffic rules, we opted to take the cyclo that was beckoning us at our heels. Well needless to say, the driver took us to the restaurant of HIS choice, ignoring our slow clearley pronounced words "LITTLE HANOI". WE quickly notiticed the absence of stop signs, traffic lights and traffic police as he gayly peddled us right into a 4 way intersection with traffic coming in all directions, never really hitting the brakes but rather depending on the oncoming cars and cycles to do the stopping. I figured that he figured he was safe being in the rear of this surry like contraption that I was sure we would die on. BUt then again, remembering Kathmandu, people do infact aviod collision by some miraculous fate! I just kept laughing like when Im on a theme park ride praying for it to end. 

WE made it to a restaurant finally where we were served in the same manner that we had arrived. Chaos. We let the adorable 15 yr old looking waitress do most of the ordering for us as they were closing soon and we had no idea what was on the menu. In less than 5 min we had several dishes in front of us and a bottle of wine (I thought I ordered a glass) a warm beer for peter, and about 4 or 5 teenage servers hovering- all smiling. Peter felt like a novelty. In thailand and here, when they serve you soup, they give you little dishes of spices and vinegers, and hot sauces to mix in with your noodles and what not. In Bangkok I made the mistake of dumping WAY too much hot stuff in mine and my lips were burning for hours. 

Tonight I managed an inbetween dose. Fried tofu and some kind of shredded salad with cilanto- hope it was safe to eat- I am much less careful about food now that i have been sick free for 4 weeks. I think I have buildt up imunities using the tap water to rinse my toothbrush...

The cost of dinner- 178,000.00 dong. which is under $10.00. our driver waited outside the restaurant, as peter had given him a 100.00 bill vs the 10.00 he asked for (first mistake) and so we figured we were set for the ride back. Not so. When we got back to the hotel (with a brief stop at his friends candy shop where I bought a bag of some discusting tasting things that I thought looked like lemon drops) our guy argued for 50,000 more on top of the additonal 100.00 peter ended up giving him! well, as our Lonely planet guide book had warned us, negotiate the cost before the ride! Vietnam has the record for the most scammers in SE Asia. Beware.