This is part three of a three-part series exploring my travels in Asia.
Hanging in Hanoi
Our entry into Vietnam was rather eventful. We discovered that while we had our Visa’s, we did not have the special fee due upon entry. There were no ATM machines and the patrol guards didn’t much care about our financial dilemma. So we turned around and humbly started asking for money and graciously paid the good Samaritans back once we accessed ATM machines.
Once we dropped our bags in our homestay, we headed into the streets of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Zim’s friend, Đào Thu Hằng, accompanied us and introduced me to Hanoi street food: Bánh mi (Vietnamese word for bread) stuffed with pork, cucumbers and chili sauce.
Hang graciously shared her city home. We took in the memorabilia at the Hanoi War Museum and strolled the streets in the Old Quarter and the French Quarter. Turns out, there is a big French influence here, particularly in the architecture. The highlight was attending a traditional water puppet show.
In the Old Quarter of Hanoi
A sculpture of scrap metal from the Vietnam War at the Hanoi War Museum
Musicians and singers gather lakeside
A traditional water puppet show
Hearkening heaven on Ha Long Bay.
No surprise, my heart sang in Vietnam as we traveled across the waters of Ha Long Bay. That’s the water baby in me, even though it was a three-hour bus ride, one way. As our ship moved across the bay, I broke bread with Korean boys and English girls with a community-style meal featuring fish stew. We witnessed living and working communities on the water: families living in one room homes and making a living by selling fish. The highlight of Ha Long was kayaking among the coves, caves and cliffs. On the trip inland, we passed by two rocks referred to as the ‘Kissing Rocks.’
Home community on Ha Long Bay
Honoring Zim’s birthday with a kayak trip
‘Kissing Rocks’ in Ha Long Bay
Zim Ugochukwu, founder and CEO of Travel Noire, put the Awesome in the Awesome Asia journey. (Follow the organization on Twitter and @travelnoire on Instagram). Zim is foremost, my friend. In addition to this gift, she is a crazy amazing entrepreneur and a traveling goddess guru. We navigated Asia with smiles and surprises due to her cultural brokering and friendship.
Now its your turn. Do you have a trip, either stateside or abroad, that continues to inspire you? I welcome your shared memories in the comments section.