Saturday 4th July
We arrived into Hanoi at about 7pm on Saturday 4th July. We were told by our Tonkin Travel guide to look for a driver holding a card that stated our name. Sure enough, a Tonkin guide holding a card with ‘YOUR NAME’ in bold was waiting for us. He could not quite get that we were the McNamara family destined for the Hanoi Hilton and not the ‘Your Name’ family. So started our journey!
The 40 min trip into the Old Quarter where our hotel was to be found was most interesting. Mark was convinced we were going in circles so crazy was the route. There are lane lines painted on the roads and highways but, I’m not sure if anyone ever bothered to tell the Vietnamese what they are for. The whole trip was a quite modest competition between cars, trucks, bikes and pedestrians. Note to self: Make sure one is sober before attempting to cross a road in Vietnam. You need all of your faculties about you!
Many of the main roads were bordered by crude stone and concrete walls of about 6 foot height. I observed that one pastime for the locals seemed to be mounting these walls and just watching the mayhem unfold on the roads below. There clearly must be enough incidents to warrant this activity as the walls were quite busy.
We eventually arrived to our hotel intact. Our room was large with a separate sitting room (complete with enormous Plasma) and bedroom and was very comfortable. We had access to the Executive Suite so went up there before bed for a drink and snack whilst watching Serena vs Venus in the Wimbledon Final. (Hotel: Hilton Hanoi Opera Room 601).