Friday, July 23, 2010

"Where are you going Derek?"
"I'm going to the bathroom. I have exploding diarrhea."
"Thanks for the info, Derek"

Now friday afternoon and we are all checked in for our flight tomorrow night. It will be nice to get home.

"Miss Nhan"
Yesterday I walked over to Hoan Kiem Lake to read my book and enjoy the scenery and activity. I was standing around looking for an empty bench and a very nice young vietnamese woman offered me a seat next to her. I sat down and we started chatting. She seemed very nice and was a recent graduate in computer technology. We were having a very nice conversation - her english was fair and we enjoyed trying to get each other to understand. She is from Hanoi, but the lake area is a bit pricey and touristy and locals don't necessarily spend much time there. She asked me if I would like to walk to the VN First University, which was a few km away. That certainly sounded fun so I agreed, but then started sprinkling a bit. We were both enjoying the cooling weather even tho we were starting to get quite wet. The rain turned into a downpour and we were both totally soaked and we sought refuge in a little trinket shop by the lake w about a dozen locals trying to wait out the storm. I actually found a little gift for Jeff (which perhaps he'll like). There was no way to walk anywhere in such a downpour but my hotel was only 2 blocks away and I thought it would be fun to introduce her to sue and long and the boys, since we had already talked about them some.

I didn't want to embarrass, or offend her by asking her to my hotel room, and I also didn't want to end up as the hapless groom that evening in a quickly arranged VN wedding...but...I decided not to overthink it, and since we both seemed to be enjoying each others' company and our shared experience I went ahead and asked and she agreed. We bought 2 rain ponchos for $2 and ran to the hotel. I was a bit worried that Sue and Long wouldn't be there, which would make things a bit awkward, but luckily they were in. Sue seemed a bit surprised when she opened up her door, and I was standing there with a cute little 24 year old vn woman and we were both soaking wet. Anyway, we came in to the presidential suite (sue and long's room) and chatted and had a very nice time together for the next hour-ish. We then invited her to lunch but she had other plans. We took a few pics and exchanged emails, so it will be fun to send her the pics and have her practice her english via email. Overall, a very nice afternoon.

For today's adventure I spent several hours wandering around Hanoi Old Town on my own, armed only w a little map. I managed to cross several very crowded streets and found both my destinations, the VN history museum (yawn), and the VN revolutionary independence museum, (a bit more interesting). I found a little side-walk cafe and ordered "some of these" and "some of those". These were pretty good, those were not, and I also had a nice ice-cold beer. I really enjoyed wandering around the city, and am feeling fairly comfortable now doing so. I must admit that the traffic takes full concentration to avoid getting rundown, but I also feel almost like a local crossing crowded streets, which I also get a strange satisfaction from.

Back in the presidential suite, using the only private internet computer in the hotel. Check out tomorrow and head home. Wow - unbelievable!