As much as we could have spent an extra
day week month year in VietNam, we decided it would be best for Tess and Jude to get home and establish a routine and some normalcy. The last puzzle piece, US visas for the babes, was in place, and we were able to get reservations on a flight for the following day, the 10th of September.
So we decided to spend our last day in VietNam doing some power tourist activities.
Hoan Kiem Lake
First up, Hoan Kiem Lake in the center or HanOi. It's such a gorgeous lake in the center of the city buzz. And the water really is this kinda odd, but gorgeous green.
The Huc Bridge that goes to the Ngoc Son Temple
Just a walk up the road and we found ourselves in the HanOi Old Quarter. Around the turn of the century, the Old Quarter was the center of town and originally consisted of 36 streets. This is where the merchants were, and the streets are named after the type of merchants that were found on that street. Nowadays, the names of many of the streets still reflect the merchants specialty of that street. Literally we found ourselves on Silk Street and Tin Street, and although the names of the streets didn't reflect the gathering of merchants found there, we also found ourselves on underwear street, toy street, reed/rattan street, produce street, purse street, luggage street, (where we bought an extra suit case to carry all our goodies) wood street, and many others. Needless to say, the shopping was just wonderful! Negotiations were well practiced! And Papa and I found ourselves simply amazed at the power the "lucky" $2 US American bill had when negotiating! Luckily, someone had told us of the power of the US $2 bill, and we were armed with about $100 worth.
Some sort of citrus fruit. I think they are a type of orange that is ripe, but stays green.
A store front selling moon cakes (all in the red boxes) getting ready for the upcoming moon festival.
Inside a replica of a tribal home. Liv was still carrying a baby as Papa's back was still injured.
Jude likes the teeter-totter!
We definitely paid the price for having Tess and Jude out all day. We headed back to our hotel via taxi. It was about a 10-12 miles back to the hotel, a 20 minute drive... without traffic. But unfortunately we found ourselves in the middle of evening rush-hour traffic, and the scooters and cars were often at a stand still. The trip turned into approximately 40 excruciating minutes. Tess was screaming at this point. I felt so badly for our cab driver, not to mention my babies. I attempted to make a bottle for Tess in the cab, but the water we had packed that morning was still surprisingly scalding hot. After making the bottle, I hung in out the window to cool. Unfortunately we were only going about 2 kilometers an hour due to the traffic. Hungry and tired, Tess screamed on. The cab driver was looking at me like I was the craziest tourist ever. The scooters packed the street so tightly that one simply could reach out and touch several others that surrounded it. We saw several minor accidents on this trip and scooters were being "clipped" at every turn. Thankfully traffic was only going a couple kilometers per hour.
I was torn. I hadn't seen or heard or tasted nearly as much of VietNam as I wanted. I craved to take more of it in. But we needed to get home, back to the hotel and back to the United States. There was packing to do and sleeping to be done. Tomorrow was going to be a LONG day, 36 hours of traveling with 2 toddlers... that still didn't trust us very much.