Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hanoi 1 Arrival (12/20/2012)

Thursday, December 20, 2012
We departed from cold and rainy Shanghai on a 15:50 Vietnam Airlines flight to Hanoi. Thus begins our Viking River Cruises "Magnificent Mekong" trip.
Arrived after about three hours, but with an hour time difference, it was only 17:55 in warm and humid Hanoi. Tom, one of the Viking River Cruises Program Directors, met us at the airport and escorted us by van to the Sofitel Legend the Metropole Hotel, known more simply as the Metropole.
Whoa! It appears on this trip we shall see the extremes in the countries of Vietnam and Cambodia. On the one hand, a 5-star luxury hotel:
Our room:
Even the complimentary water bottle is dressed up:
We headed a few blocks away to the Ciao Café for sandwiches and seeing the locals:
It had the feel of an old American diner:
Local beer:
We were fascinated by the millions of motor scooters in Hanoi. Many did stop for a traffic light:
But in most cases, there is no traffic light and you must bravely face forward and cross at an even pace, allowing the motor scooters to swerve around you. If you make eye contact, suddenly stop, step back, or speed up, you will be hit. (Thanks for the advice, Colin!)
We passed the Hanoi Stock Exchange on our way back to the hotel:
(Every financial district must have a bull?)
Our first Uncle Ho (Chairman Ho Chi Minh) sighting:
The Metropole is decorated for the Christmas holidays:
The hotel has two vintage Citroën autos that one can rent for a ride:
The Metropole is very popular at this time of year for posing:
The "Gingerbread House:"
The Opera Wing entrance of the Metropole:
The central courtyard of the hotel, with Christmas tree:
Santa and his reindeer:
and the swimming pool:
A perfectly spherical shrub:
Tomorrow, Hanoi 2 Presidential Palace Complex.

No comments: