After the very hot and humid weather of Cambodia, Hanoi welcomed us with rain and cold. We were both tired from the day’s adventure in Cambodia so opted to eat at the hotel lobby. The next day we met our driver and guide for a long trip to Halong Bay. The traffic was congested, with scooters everywhere. It was fascinating to watch the scooters weaving in and out between cars and pedestrians. Hanoi is steeped in French architecture. After 4 long hours, finally reached Halong Bay. The dock area was already filled with tourists waiting for their boats to arrive. I had booked us a private one so when it arrived, it seemed huge without too many people. There was the cook, owner and one other person, me, Abraham and our guide.
We sailed out to Halong Bay, mist shrouding overhead. It was also very cold. The rock formations or I called little mountains rose majestically from the water for us to get peeks as it was not a clear day. We stopped at a small fishing village, docked and took a little tiny dinghy for sightseeing.
I am sure if it had been a sunny day, that the scenery would have been spectacular. I have a fear of deep water but I forced myself to get into this dinghy. I found out that my son gets claustrophobic when he cannot see below. He too forced himself to focus on photo opportunities.
Back in Hanoi, we went to all the tourist attractions, including viewing Ho Chi Minh’s body. We walked the streets of Hanoi, practicing walking across streets, trying not to get run down by the scooters. Our guide took us to this silk store, only to walk through to the back….of course I was thinking: what is he getting us into now, more selling of products..NO, he led us to an alley that ended into a kitchen area, inside a beautiful French architect building. We ascended a spiral stairway to the seating area and further to the roof for Hanoi city viewing. Abraham headed there to add to his photo library. This place’s specialty was Vietnamese coffee with whipped egg whites. Abraham was on a quest for the best Pho and Vietnamese coffee. So far he had not found either till this time. It was fun to watch my son enjoy himself with the street vendor foods and his quest for coffee. This trip was proving to be more and more interesting as I saw another side to my already complex artist son. I never realized what a foodie he has turned out to be.
We ended our visit to Hanoi with an incredible dinner at Bobby Chinn’s restaurant. Abraham kept saying he was in heaven. Each dish opened our taste buds to new tastes, anticipating the next dish. Bobby has created a beautiful atmosphere that satiates all the senses. It also helped that he had red all over, my favorite color. The service, the food, the wait staff, the physical layout all contributed to an evening that Abraham and I will always remember. A mother and son moment that will be passed on.