Thursday, March 14, 2013

walking around hanoi, vietnam part 2

before my memories will close down on me, just like the setting sun that we fervently chased that day in hanoi, i should better channel these memories into my fingertips soon enough. in other words, now. what better time than now? what better place than here? or was it the other way around according to rage against the machines?

anyway, drifting away from that (because it's totally unrelated), let me tell you another kind of drift and that's drifting in the midst of the insane traffic in hanoi! are you ready for this? oh in case you're wondering why this is part 2, of course a part 1 precedes this. ;)

Traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam

can you see the lone girl on her scooter? she was way too calm, looking at her phone while the three of us were in almost panic, trying to figure out how to cross the road! yes, there was a pedestrian lane but there were no traffic lights, let alone a traffice policeman! but to cut the story short, we made it alive or else i wouldn't be writing now. and my goodness, heaven forbid!

Cyclo Tour in Hanoi, Vietnam

this was the calmer traffic, hours before we encountered the frantic traffic, seemingly coming right at us non-stop. the cyclos above looked really cool but it would cost us more than our teeny-weeny comfort if we chose this way. anyhow, walking around did us good.

since we started to wander already late, at 2 in the afternoon, we couldn't possibly cover as many places as we would want, simply by walking. not that we had a lot in mind. it was our last day in hanoi and we partly had a bittersweet feeling. that's why, we just had to roam around more.

with the help of our inaccurately scaled map, we pointed the temple of literature to one of the xe om drivers. we saw these drivers hanging around the small roundabout near the hoan kiem lake, while lounging on their motorbikes. in our instincts, they looked harmless and for sure, they were already veterans in snaking through hanoi's infamous traffic. we eventually gave in to commute because around this time, the sun had irrevocably decided to rest for the day.

Temple of Literature, Hanoi, Vietnam

Flower Sign at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam

we arrived safely at the temple of literature, alright. i even doubted at first if the drivers and us understood each other. thankfully, we reached at the right place by just shelling out an inexpensive fare of VND30,000 per motorbike. because we were three, we hired two motorbikes for convenience.

it was a cheap thrill, considering we felt like kings err queens getting through the rush hour madness the hanoi traffic could offer. and how's that for adrenaline rush? it didn't even matter if we ended up with an already closed temple of literature!

but even so, it was still sad missing out on the opportunity. the temple of literature in hanoi is an interesting historic site to visit, not merely going around its fence walls but more importantly on the inside. it is a beautifully landscaped temple and it is not just a normal temple since this was dedicated to confucius, which made this as the former center of learning in the first place. it was built in the year 1070 and it stands the test of time for almost a thousand years, with stories carved in its walls for the generations to come.

Quoc Tu Giam Park, Hanoi, Vietman

Quoc Tu Giam Park, Hanoi, Vietman

Quoc Tu Giam Park, Hanoi, Vietman

our only consolation was this nicely tended park alongside the temple of literature. after a quick search in the web, i came to know that this park is called, quoc tu giam park. we saw another set of locals in this park, spending the rest of their manic monday like the ones in the hoan kiem lake. some were having a nice chat with their peers and for the healthy people, they jogged around and a part of the park was even turned into makeshift badminton courts (in plural and i mean it!), where they only made use of the street lights as the day turned into night.

i really love this kind of greenery in the city and i hope we can have more of this back home.

Temple of Literature, Hanoi, Vietnam

at the beginning, we couldn't accept the temple of literature was brokenheartedly closed. we couldn't understand what the guards were saying and on the contrary, that gave us a spark of hope. so, we tried to survey along the concrete fence, hoping that the correct entrance will be at the other end.

a man who we bumped into while he was jogging, even tried to help us by saying that it was closed. but we didn't listen and our stubbornness brought us to another closed gate at the opposite end.

the fence was tall but we were still able to take tilted shots by stretching out our arm while snapping to whatever was in there. aside from our cameras as our eyes, we also jumped a few times to satisfy our curiosity. poor us. at least, we saved an entrance fee's worth. these are plainly bitter words.

so how's hanoi after that?

Old Railway in Hanoi, Vietnam
We found a railway! I hope we're right that
it's abandoned!

Street Barber in Hanoi, Vietnam
A street barber closing for the day.
First time to see this kind of barbershop! 

A Grandfather in Hanoi, Vietnam
Grandpa, can you tell us stories?
What was it like when you were young?
Has the world changed or is it still the same?
Wait, this has turned into a song! lol

Traffic Post in Hanoi, Vietnam
Even their traffic post looked lovely!

the aimless walking got the better of us and the frustration where to buy goodies for us to bring home, completed the impending exhaustion. it turned out that the place for such shops was the building near our hotel, which we thought was just a normal mall. when the hotel manager told us about the place, we got the impression that it was far and not just a 2-minute walk! adding insult to injury, we went inside and only to find out that all shops had already closed.

we drowned all our sorrows and weariness by eating at a not-so-fastfood korean foodchain, bbq chicken and that's how we ended our last day in hanoi. slow hurrah...

Traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam
This is how they roll in Hanoi!
Can you handle this?


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