Time to leave Hanoi.
When I arrived at the alleged boarding point for the bus today I was told the street was too narrow for the bus and I needed to go across town.
A motorbike was summoned… which I climbed onto wearing my rucksack, not feeling at all top heavy.
We zipped off through the Hanoi traffic and I quickly found myself feeling utterly exhilarated. It was hardly stylish Vespa riding, what with all of my luggage, but I haven’t been on the back of a motorbike for twenty years.
The ride was over all too soon, even if the occasional bump in the road had led me to imagine being catapulted off the back,and I was disappointed when we arrived at the actual meeting point for the bus.
The minibus arrived – the same model as I had seen cruising the streets at my first stop.
I climbed on board and took a seat at the back.
As the bus pulled out, a beeping alert started sounding – a door hadn’t closed properly. As we swung left, the side door opened.
The driver pressed buttons to close it again but for the next fifteen minutes, as the bus moved through traffic, the alarm continued to beep and the door continued to open and close.
The man in front of me was a little concerned and spoke to the driver… he indicated through gesture that he needed to concentrate on driving rather than worry about the door.
We finally pulled in on a side street and the driver got out, manually closed the door and then kicked it to ensure it was shut.
I had to immediately stifle laughter as he THEN opened the door to let more passengers on.
Loaded up with more luggage and passengers, we now set off for Ninh Binh.
In the Saturday morning traffic it took an hour to reach the outskirts of Hanoi and the man who had joined me on the back seats of the bus had decided to share his music taste with the entire bus.
What is wrong with headphones?
It actually wasn’t that bad. I hear worse on the trains and buses around Manchester.
The view out of the window was mostly flat countryside – fields, crops, the occasional buffalo – and small villages and towns filled with low rise narrow houses. There was something almost Dutch in appearance about them.
Some of them also featured European style buildings – churches and what could have been town halls.
Unlike China, there were not forests of high rise towers and skyscrapers in the towns.
As we entered the outskirts of Ninh Binh the scenery started to looked like that around Guilin. The next few days should be good for fans of interesting rock formations.
The bus stopped at the dock on the Trang and chugged away. I was just checking the walking distance when a motorbike pulled up.
*Featured Photo: Trang An.