The flight was supposed to take off at 1:10am, but we'd have gotten into Hong Kong "before the airport was open" (we were told, which made no sense...) so they delayed the departure for 40 minutes. Despite that, we arrived in Hong Kong even earlier than we would've if we'd left at 1:10am, and the airport was obviously open and functioning, so what was that about, anyway!
|Hong Kong at sunrise|
Then it was an easy flight to Hanoi, and for the first time we landed at the brand new airport. Last year we saw that it was nearly completed, all glass and fancy and modern-sized, so we weren't surprised. The process to get the visa was modernized and didn't involve a man with a giant ledger, and we were out of the airport so fast it was amazing. Our luggage made it too -- a big treat after the debacle in Norway.
|For the first time too, no women in Ao Dai to be seen, but the air|
still had that acrid smell that equals Hanoi, and I was so glad.
|crazy eyes! SO HAPPY to be here again.|
|so big! so fancy! all new Hanoi.|
|I hate this. MEGAMALL. And it had a giant Christmas tree in front.|
Anyway. We finally got to our hotel and were struck by the beauty of the grounds, and the surrounding landscape.
|our little patio off our room, and the view|
|some of the grounds -- really beautiful|
|one of the several kitchen gardens -- this one several kinds of lettuce|
|here we were in 2005, in Halong Bay.|
|And here is Tam Coc. Halong Bay on land. All the rice fields are flooded right now.|
|someone's home -- with a lovely pig and some chickens|
|the late afternoon sun lit up the hammer and sickle flags and they always tickle me for some reason|
After breakfast we took a very long walk and just wandered around on little dirt roads, through rice fields, past little homes, past new hotels being built. We didn't encounter other people -- a child here or there, people working in the distance on occasion, but that's it.
This is our fifth time in Vietnam and we're seeing two new places this time -- the Ninh Binh/Tam Coc area, and Can Tho down in the Mekong Delta. As we were watching the rain fall, we were both so glad to be here in this brand new place, surrounded by such incredible beauty. More later. xo