I’ve spent the last two days exploring and, today, I caught up with Amy who I met on Day 5 when we caught the train to Moscow from Warsaw.
Social media has allowed us to keep in touch and watch each other’s journeys and, by coincidence, we’re in the same city at the same time.
So, we met up for coffee.
We are both taking entirely different trips. Amy has spent the last six or seven weeks cycling across Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
That is my idea of hard work. I know, theoretically, how to repair a puncture but I’d rather not to do it. I’m also not keen on cycling up mountains.
However, her photographs have given me ideas for things I want to see and do, providing cycling isn’t involved.
It made a change to see a familiar face rather than run through the first time conversation again – not that I have any problem with that. I have met some great people so far.
While we were catching up and sharing impressions (because we have been to some of the same places, just several weeks apart), three students came to talk to us.
They wanted to know about our impressions of Hanoi and what kind of cultural or touristic experiences we would most appreciate.
If they can offer us a historical food tour, we could be on to a winner.
My two days in Hanoi have been great… it’s a very friendly city. It’s also a very easy city to explore and each street brings something new – shops selling nothing but silk lanterns, baskets full of spices lining the streets and people sitting at the street side restaurants on small stools eating noodles.
The other main sight, even more so than anywhere in Southern China… the mopeds. And apparently, there are three things you need to have in order to ride on Hanoi’s streets:
- Good brakes
- A good horn
- Good luck
It has also been somewhat warmer in the city than during my last few days in China and I made a momentous decision.
I got my head shaved.
I have had long hair all of my life but the heat and humidity for most of the last month has been challenging. My hair freezes like I’ve had an electric shock and as for hostel showers…
…They’re like the little girl who had a little curl…
…when they’re good, they’re very, very good; but when they are bad, they’re ‘orrid.
As I was walking by the Ceramic Road, I found some street side barbers and as I passed them, one of the men asked me if I wanted my hair cut.
The actual barber wouldn’t cut my hair. To be fair, he could probably cut the hair for five men in the time it would take to do mine.
A woman tapped me on the shoulder and gestured, making a scissors-cutting gesture with her fingers and pointed around the corner.
I set off and found a tiny open fronted shop with one chair in the middle. The hairdresser was sitting in it and we made eye contact.
I went in with my previously translated statement:
And followed it quickly with:
She looked shocked. There was definitely the equivalent of: “Are you sure?”
Once I had assured her that yes, I definitely wanted this, the hairdresser was absolutely delighted. She seemed quite giddy.
I was wrapped in a sheet, pushed into the chair and she went to work. She actually used scissors rather than a razor and, as she cut the first chunk of hair, she glanced at me to check that there was no likelihood of me changing my mind.
It took no more than thirty minutes and coat a fiver. Even if I don’t like it, it will grow back by the time I get back to the UK.
We did a selfie once she was done and I briefly thought of taking a photograph of my hair piled up on the floor.
I’m utterly delighted with the new look.
*Featured Photo: Long Bien Bridge