Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hello from Seoul,

Well, I never got to see the rest of Hanoi...

Yesterday evening at 10 PM, after washing my hair and changing into my nightgown, I had a sudden thought that 00:30 October 18 might, in fact, be during the night of the 17th to the 18th instead of the 18th to the 19th. After checking with Korean Airlines (a hard job in itself seeing that the guy at the reception couldn't find their number), I discovered that I was right! So I packed my bags in 5 minutes (dumping the three articles I'd just washed into a plastic bag), and rushed out to the airport in a taxi. Couldn't even look as the driver sped along the highway, honking at every vehicle in sight to get out of our way, We arrived at 11:15 PM, and I was able to catch my flight, which has a transfer at Seoul. Dosed off for about an hour when all the lights went on and we were woken up for breakfast! The flight was only 3 and a half hours long and, what with the two hour time difference, the night was very short indeed and I'm exhausted. Luckily the airport transfer lounge is comfortable and there's free Internet access. I'll be coming through here again on my flight from Beijing to L.A. in two weeks' time.

Oh, by the way, on the flight from Hanoi to Seoul, I was the only westerner on the whole plane and stood a head above everybody on board! There wasn't an empty seat, either. Lots of middle-class looking Koreans coming back from what looked like a couple days of holiday in Vietnam. They were all carrying those straw, conical hats (sold these days as souvenirs) and wearing baseball caps--even in the plane! Breakfast, of course, was noodle soup, as it was in many places in Vietnam. However, in Vietnam they offered us westerners bananas (which are green in color but still ripe), bread and jam.

Just a few more words about Hanoi. I liked it. My hotel was in a very popular area where people eat and live in the street. But not too far away is a lovely lake which is lined with trees and where people go strolling in the evening.And not too far away are the tree-lined streets with ocre-colored houses dating from the French colonial era, They're now mostly used as embassies and administrative buildings. Can't remember if I told you my second night in Hanoi I attended a "water puppet" performance --lovely big puppets on a sort of lake that are handled by puppeteers standing in the water behind a screen--which was accompanied by traditional music. I actually went back to the lake last night and had a leisurely dinner. Ran into a couple on the Halong tour and chatted for awhile. Little did I know that I would then be rushing off to the airport!

Haven't got my camera cable here with me so can't send any photos this time. Will do soon.



At October 18, 2006 3:22 AM, Anonymous maura said...

Hilary - I was wondering about the gap in your blog & now I know why! Imagine if you had missed the flight to Seoul. How lucky you made it!

Hanoi sounds lovely, especially the lake & the water puppets. You should have some good memories (and, I hope, pictures).

Keep the trip reports coming. I'm reading them faithfully while drinking a cuppa tea! maura

At October 18, 2006 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice one mum, you got lucky!! we had to watch out for the same thing when we were in thailand... and yes i'll do asia one day! espacially to Halong bay! the only chineese i know is to say happy birthday; you have to say it in a very french way: johnny change le koala... it really works! waintin for my friend who lived a full year in Beijing to answer to my email... hips of kisses.. Marco

At October 19, 2006 8:45 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

Hi Hilary, Nice to hear that you're managing very well and the trip sounds great. The photos are a big plus - keep them coming!
Looking forward to "hearing" about your next stop.. China.


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