Random thoughts from the north of Vietnam

Some random small things I’ve picked up along the way was going to twitter, but decided there were too many, and they’re too long…

Eating snakes… One of the hostel legends – first you drink the bile, then the blood, then you eat the beating heart.  Apparently you can feel the heart beating in your stomach.  There’s a place just outside of Hanoi you can try it.  I’d only do it at the end of the travels though, nothing ruins a holiday like being violently ill.

Snake wine.  It has a dead snake dead scorpion in it.  And looks a lot like olive oil.  The rumours are that if you drink the whole bottle, the poison makes you blind.  I say put it in smaller bottles.

Even though the hotel I booked in Hue was full, I can still use their free wifi if I go over by the balcony.  Well, it’s only across the street.

The same hotel should change their router password… I can login with admin / admin.  You get this a lot in places that offer free wifi, why don’t all routers force you through changing the password when you first install it?  Plug and play that creates a rubbish system is still a rubbish system.

Vietnamese cities don’t have many massive landmarks that I can use to orientate myself.  The tall narrow streets are not helping.

So, my BGT-31 GPS has been a lifesaver.  Once I find a place like a hotel or a train station – I can mark it, and use it to create way points later on.    It tells me which direction I’m heading in; North, East, South or West, which I should be heading in, and how far it is.  It also makes me feel a bit like a ghostbuster if I hold it out in front of me while I’m walking.

I can’t sleep on trains if I’m lying down.  I had the same restless nights when I was in Croatia.  Remarkably falling asleep sitting up and talking to myself on the way home from work has never been a problem.

I often pass by Facebook requests from old school friends that I can’t remember from 5 years of school.  But I’ll happily add someone I’ve spoken to for only 15 minutes in a hostel.  And I still have to ask their name again, because “hey man” never returns any successful matches.

There are a lot of good rock bars in London that I don’t know about.  And it’s embarrassing finding that out from a Swedish bloke who lived there for only a year.

Seeing a live pig tied upside down on the back of a motorcycle was well worth seeing, no matter what the animal rights activists say.

I’m beginning to understand the phrase “more people die every year crossing the street, than do flying”… Londoners should still be afraid of flying.

The book sellers on the streets have offered me huge stacks of Lonely Planet Guides, but never Rough Guides.  I wonder how accurate their counterfeiting is, or wether the books contain helpful gems such as “you should stay at my place, very cheap”, and: “Always buy lonely planet guides from the local street book people.  They are cheaper and more accurate.”  All said and done, as Mike (I won’t take the credit) – at least they’re selling something tourists will find useful, and not some useless cheap tat.

That’s the lot.  It’s a bit of a strange format for me to add on the blog and I blame twitter.  It also makes me want to include some poem about friendship or love at the bottom, and request you send it to 5 of your closest friends.

Remember, if you get it back – someone loves you too.

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  1. Is it also true, that if you don’t reply to these sorts of things you under up selling fruit in a foreign country ?

    As for Motorbikes, stay clear – we all know you can’t even drive a car, and how on earth you going to get it back on the plane 😉

    • Andrew Brown
    • November 24, 2008
    • Reply

    I don’t know about you, but I dug the format.

    Oh, and I guess the content was good as well 😉

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