The Radical and Renee are off to Hà Nôi.
18th October 2018
Hence the early change of music !
Booking has been abit precarious.
Firstly it depended on Renee’s new passport arriving,which it did yesterday.
And the changing fancies of the Travel Agents and Airlines.
Even though we had been told there were hundreds of empty seats on both
outward and return flights, when we reserved our seats,
the games they played to extract money is another “greed is good”scandal.
As soon as one shows interest up goes the price.
The flight price between booking online
and over the phone is often in excess of £100 for an Economy ticket.
Within two days of looking I was offered £515 return to Hanoi
to £630 –“( all other offers being off the table)”
said the booking clerk at Crystal and Travel Up was no better.
Eventually I booked the flight we wanted for £545.
Leaving Heathrow on a Sunday and arriving in Hanoi in the morning
to leaving Hanoi in the Evening to arriving back in the UK at 6am.
Considering I must drive to London from County Durham and back I want to
avoid the Motorway traffic as much as possible.
Long Stay parking has added £68 to that bill.
But it’s still £100 cheaper in fuel etc.. than letting the train take the strain.
And that does not include getting to and from Darlington,
Kings Cross to the Piccadilly line
and from the Tube station to the Teminal
with the 30kgs of luggage each allocated.
Then there is the booking of accommodation.
A self contained, self catering apartment including lift at £249 for the duration.
within 10min walking distance of the Ho Truc Bach Lake, & West Lake (Ho Toy),
Dong Xuan Market and the Old Quarter.
And to avoid the corruption, reported at Noi Bai Airport for transfer and the
infrequency of the No 86 Express bus I am paying £11 for a mini- bus
to carry the luggage and us direct to the lodgings.
The official rate of exchange for Vietnamese Dong is £1 = D 30,380
but the best offer, to exchange a little money here is to order it online
from Eurochange. £1 = 28,482
It is best paid for by debit card and takes 48 hours to collect
from their nearest branch which I can reach by pensioners bus pass
So its going to be a question of collecting essentials
and not too many supporting essentials.
Its the weather that is the first consideration. 26C it is said, and 2 days rain,
cooler than Ho Chi Minh city because it is 21 degrees latitude further north.
We chose Hanoi over Ho Chi Minh because of the “City of Lakes and
shaded boulevards, the slow pace and charm.” hmmmm ?
Will we really find it the “Paris of the Orient” ? Do we want to ?
First stop was the Library to order the latest Lonely Planet
or Insight into Vietnam.
“Both taken” she said but we will email you when available.
I have a 1999 edition, picked up at a charity shop which may have to do.
The Planet is not so Lonely these days.
I have been doing abit of research too.
Must pay my respects to Ho at his Mausoleum along with the fallen,
civilians too, in the French / American Colonial War of Occupation
Among other Museum vists –
The Women’s Museum – Revolution Museum – and Ethnology Museum
Our hosts are being most helpful and I have discovered a food Market 4
minutes from the apartment.
The Old Quarter beckons as does the smell of the coffee houses
It will be an exploratory visit because it is one place both Renee and I can go to
together without the tedious trip to London for a Visa.
That may all change for others when we bale out of the EU.
If anyone has been and can offer some wise words on Hanoi
and its surroundings please get in touch.
There will be more to follow when we get there !
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