Katja and Arne's travel stories

12.01.15 Thai monday and sunshine in Hanoi

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We get up with the alarm as we once again are applying for visa to Thailand. Well, technically we haven’t applied before as we timed it incorrectly when we were in Yangon, but today, today we’ll have success!
Another great breakfast at the hotel this morning. The place we stay at is normally very expensive, but a campaign at Agoda made it possible to stay here. We’re under normal budgeted nightly cost and experience great value for money right now.
We head out towards the embassy and fear the line we found outside the one in Yangon. We spent some time on our way there as the sights, sounds and impressions are many in the morning traffic in Hanoi. Randy taught us yesterday the baby-steps-across-the-road-method. It works as a charm and we cross large streets with an insanely amount of motorcycles. I guess a sure way of getting a job around here is knowledge about motorcycle repair.
Arriving at the embassy it’s clear that more people from Myanmar want to go to Thailand than from Vietnam. One other woman was there waiting for the counter to be manned. One. Just one! Hahaha. We had looked up the embassy on internet and it was supposed to have visa hours from 8:30. It was a note on the bulletin board that says the same. The counter, on the other hand, says it’s manned from 9. We’re there ten to so it’s no problem.
When the counter gets manned we send the lady in first and she returns after ten seconds because she hasn’t filled in the application form. We step up and are done in a flash. We hoped it was possible to apply for ninety days, but it was not. We will put Bangkok in the schedule so we can extend the visa there before moving to the northern parts of Thailand. Pickup tomorrow between 15-17. It will be good to get this done.

We texted Mette and waited for her to arrive so we could visit the Temple of literature together. Hanoi’s first university was built here in 1076 on the order of the ruling emperor. It taught the basics of Confucius, and we all know what he stood for, right? No? I didn’t either. I have shamelessly stolen this text:

The teachings of Confucius are focused on two interrelated areas: Social Teachings, which deal with the proper behaviour of the individual in society and to his fellow men, and Political Teachings, which deal with the art of governance and the proper relationship of the Ruler to the ruled. He viewed education as central to achieving proper conduct both within Society and in Government.

From this website
That covered, the place was nice to visit as there are lots of old architecture still standing after all these years. There are records of people who took the Mandarin exam back in the old old old days. So far back that the records are on large stone tablets put on the back of stone turtles. It was a time with rather heavy demand on the students. There were a lot who failed on their exams and the pressure was probably high from the families who maybe sacrificed everything to be able to send you to school.

From there we took a short coffee break before going to the Museum of fine art. They had a special exhibition of old propaganda material. The museum was nice and had a lot of art on display. It’s easy to see the horror and war that was this country’s everyday for so many years. The art is very dark and the military themes are very visible. After moving through the permanent exhibition we moved to the temporary one. It was paintings based on the old propaganda posters and it was a cool and colorful viewing. Photo prohibited at the museum, unfortunately.

Now it was time for lunch add we walked a few meters down to a street stall and got ourselves a very decent meal. This is a kind of “restaurant” where they only serve one thing. You sit down, food come, you eat, pay, and leave.

We walked through the streets after lunch and kept soaking up the atmosphere. We plotted a course home via a yoga place to scout it out for possible yoga training. It’s a combined yoga studio and cafe that serves vegetarian food and healthy drinks. We grabbed a juice each and enjoyed a nice time there. If we get time we’ll go to a session here, but the plate is still full of things we plan to do.

When we arrived back at the hotel we confirmed a booking to do a day trip to Halong Bay on Wednesday.
A little cowboy nap and then it’s out to dinner. Wow, time flies. We go out and go to a restaurant were we had lunch yesterday. The food was great and we know what we are gonna get. They delivered once again and we left happy and full. We planned to see one of the markets before dinner, but spent too long at the yoga place. We moved there now and walk through the streets of the guilds. It’s a lot of junk to be bought here. Holy macaroni. Probably some good stuff to, but it easily drowns in the junk. It’s entertaining though, to walk through street after street with shops, street stalls and food places. You walk in the street because the sidewalk is motorcycle parking space and hold all the small stalls as well. You learn to look in a lot of directions when moving.

The market is just more junk. We don’t spend any time there but head on back to towards the hotel. We have a juice on the way back and are now in the room writing this, uploading pictures and hopefully posting as post or two.

I like my coffee how I like myself: Dark, bitter and to hot for you.

– Unknown

Author: arnber

Humongen! The big guy! The man, the myth, the legend! And then theres' me. The nice guy in the house. The man without cooking skills, but with five stars on the Playstation. Boss at work, relaxed at home. What you see is what you get. Life is good. I choose it to be.

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