Saturday, April 26, 2008

We Are on Uncle Ho's Land

The hotel which we would be staying in Hanoi was to have airport pick up for us. It was no Sheraton or Shangri-la. I had found this hotel which offered a very good rate on the Internet. It's an in between 2 to 3 star hotel - Pacific Hotel Hanoi, situated in the city centre itself. A requirement for us as we didn't want to be so away from the shops.

When we walked out to the airport arrival area, we searched for someone who would be carrying a card with my name on it. Cari-cari tak de pun.. Hai, ni yang buat suspence ni. Orang bawak bouquet of flowers ramai lah. Wah...the flowers were so pretty.

We waited for a while more. Still no one came. Please... let the hotel be real and not a scam as some friends had warned us earlier. Not wanting to wait any longer, I then made a call to the hotel and they asked us to go to the hotel information counter to get a cab from there.

By then we had attracked enough attention of locals who seemed to be ever so willing to help. I remember reading somewhere about touts at the airport and people wanting to take tourists for a ride. My "stranger defence shield" was up instantaneously. We were definately not going with any one funny looking.

The guy at the hotel information counter took us to our cab and the cab looked like real cab and he assured us that the driver would be taking us to out hotel. Hai...bismillahhi tawakkal allaulah je la nampak nyer ni. Suspence jugak but...inshaAllah we would be safe.

In the cab to the hotel, we were previewed the famous Vietnam traffic chaos. Cars, motorbikes, bicycles and people were all over the road. It was kind of scarry coz' all vehicles seemed to be heading their own way and looked like they were going to collide into each other. There was lots of honking too. I guess that would be the drivers' way of communicating to other drivers on their intentions on the road.

1st double bed...and check out the PC at the corner

It took us a good 40 minutes to get to the hotel and when we finally arrived, we were happy with what we saw. Like I said...the hotel no Shangri-la nor was it Grand Continental either. There guy who was manning the reception was very friendly. He asked us how many of us in the group. I told him there were 3 of us. He said there were only two beds in the standard rooms. I mentioned if we could have an extra bed put in. He then said he would give us the suite instead the same price of the standard room!!! Wow....that was some Vietnamese hospitality just a few hours after setting foot on Uncle Ho's land.

2nd double bed...and check out the pine wood closet and the full size fridge

We were obviously more than happy to accept the offer. We were given our hotel key and the bell boy brought out baggage up. When we stepped into our room we almost couldn't believe our luck. It was a big room alrite. There were two double beds, 1 pine wood closet and...check this out....a PC with Internet connection!!!! There was even a balcony (which we discovered on our 2nd day). Woooo....this was something else. Even in KL one would not get a room with a PC unless one stayes in a 5++++ hotel. Ini 2.5 star Internet some more and its rates per night was ONLY USD50.

Got massage chair lagiii.....

After we have settled down, we took out the food we brought and had our serunding and bread plus Maggie lunch in the room. Since we would be doing lots of walking after this, we had better fuel ourselves up.

So..after solat and the simple lunch we were ready to do some serious shopping. It was almost 2pm when we went down to the hotel lobby.

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