A quick 2 hour flight transports us from Hot, Humid Saigon north to Cooler, Gray Hanoi. We are staying in the old town center a few blocks from Hoan Kiem Lake. Hanoi feels less frantic & brash than Saigon, but the 'motorbike rules' is still in effect. Crossing an intersection feels as though one is trying to avoid the blades inside a pulsating food processor; just keep thinking 'sticky rice, sticky rice' and keep moving; miraculously, the 'blades' will avoid emulsifying you !
The lines of people awaiting entry to the Ho Chi Minh Masoleum circled the site perimeter for 100's of meters; a 1,000 or more people I'd estimate. We instead decided to visit his Museum and then walk thru the city parks in the cool shade of the many tall trees. Then a city tour using the Hop-On / Hop-Off bus gave us a good overview of the city. Hanoi does have a more laid-back atmosphere compared to young bustling Saigon.
Tomorrow we part ways with Megan & Ken, as they head northwest to Sapa, and we head east to Haiphong and onto Cat Ba Island. It has been a pleasure to spend a few days with Megan and get to know her more. And of course additional days with Ken are always a treat, filled with humour & interesting conversation.
Ciao for now