We arrived in Vietnam last Wednesday and chose a hostel at whim in the Old Quarter. There was a St. Patrick's Day party on top of the complete culture shock and chaos of downtown Hanoi.
Mostly drunk British and South African travellers en route from Thailand or Cambodia, stopping to party before Loas and Bali. I think if it wasn't for Hanoi's midnight curfew I would have gone mad with the constant music and hollering. (Don't get me wrong, I also dominated at flip cup.) Jon and I wandered around the Old Quarter for two days and got our bearings.
We found a room in a house full of expats in Tay Ho. (The wrong side of the lake we've discovered.) It's near four temples and there's a woman selling Bahn Mi from a cart at the end of our block.
My goal on the morning of my first walk in Vietnam was to cross the street. No small goal. There is no waiting for a break in traffic. You just step out into a stream of cars and motorcycles and trust it to weave around you like a school of fish. Learning to drive will be a whole other story.
In Tay Ho I've been exploring the neighbourhoods beside the lake. I walked around it (and found my new yoga studio) and the next day I walked around it the other way (back to my new yoga studio).
This week my goal is to learn to ride a motorbike and eat a mango every day.