Beijing to Hanoi 14th - 17th September
I feel like I have written volumes for just a few days, but I am really packing it in as time is limited. I shall try to summarise the last few days succinctly...... Forbidden City - Crazy tourist spot but pretty cool, Train to Hanoi - Meet some nice Kiwis and people from UK, as well as Vietnamese room-mates who are lovely, have loads of boxes and can't really speak English. Have a fairly uneventful journey - the train is packed, at least 500 people aboard! Pointless health check at Vietnamese border, they stick a thermometer in our ear (mine reads 32.5???) and charge the equivalent of 25p and we get a ticket, presumably saying we are healthy to travel through the country?! Hanoi - The people I speak to are very friendly and lots of people approach me to practice English or to find out about my culture. Get really fed up with saying ' Thank-you very much for the kind offer but I would rather not all the same' or similar (with a smile of course, I am representing my country!) to the thousand people a day who ask if I want a lift/to buy fruit or postcards - argh. It is also very hot and Ho Chi Minh is out of town for renovation so no joy there. Lots of nice food. I buy a bum-bag - Winner, what a revelation, my shoulders are much happier now. Also found a supermarket and bought a big block of chocolate and gorge myself by the Hoam Kiem Lake of the restored sword/tortoise legend. Oh yes, and the Water Puppets are ACE!