Final glimpses of Hanoi

And now we’re almost at the end of the Vietnam story.  But before we head home, some final scenes from Hanoi.

Vietnamese coffee is unique. It is drunk strong and thick, often with condensed milk. One of the varieties of coffee is known as weasel coffee. It is made from coffee which has been eaten by a chon (Vietnamese weasel) and…ahem…defecated by said animal. The beans are then roasted. True weasel coffee is quite rare, and extremely expensive, but many places sell weasel coffee that is actually imitation weasel. We brought home a packet of that, and tried it out in the coffee machine. I think I can safely say, it tasted like sh*t.

The Huc (Sunbeam) Bridge on Hoan Kiem Lake is a popular location for wedding photos, but I never saw it less than crowded, so I have no idea how the photographers ever snap the shots with no one else in the frame. Or perhaps they don’t bother. Hey look, there’s me and my bride and an old guy just passing by.

Ancestor worship derived from Chinese culture is practised throughout Vietnam. One of the traditions is to send your ancestors in the spirit world wealth and possessions by burning paper replicas. Paper items such as cars, TV sets, mobile phones and houses are burnt in incinerators at temples. Money (often in the form of fake US dollars) is also burnt. Queenie bought a pile of money at the markets and we sought out an incinerator in the Den Ngoc Son (Jade Mountain Temple) in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake across the red bridge. I hope our ancestors appreciate the US$50,000 we sent up in smoke.

Traditional dancing and music at that same temple. These ladies obviously enjoyed their work.
By the time we left Hanoi, preparations were in full swing for the 1,000th anniversary celebrations which were celebrated on 10/10/2010. I imagine the place would have been madness during that time – the newspapers were already talking about all hotel rooms being fully booked.  How incredible though to be in a city when it turns 1,000!
And here your Vietnamese journey ends. We hope you have enjoyed traveling with Fairlie Tours and look forward to welcoming you aboard next time.
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