Strolling the Streets of Hanoi

It was a fine, sunny day of December 24th 2016 when we were bound to Hanoi. I’ve been through a hustle and bustle that morning, because the ATM that I’ve been withdrawing for a long time became fully dysfunctional. Procrastination at it finest; it was my fault for not withdrawing money a day before the trip. I expected the machine to work properly, since it had been doing a great job all this time until the trip. What a coincidence! My heart was trembling out of procrastination and fright, but I still managed to find a functional machine that can work with international cards. Thank God I still managed to drive the e-bike through the busy streets while I’m being preoccupied by my negativity. I was able to drive back to our dormitory fifteen minutes before the service to Hanoi arrived. Phew!

 

We rented a van which is called New Star Limousine online through the help of our Vietnamese classmate. We were not expecting such an extravagant van, what we expected was just the usual service van. I think we got what we have paid for, great quality and service! We felt like celebrities for a while.

 

We stayed at Chien Hostel for three days and two nights, sadly I do not have any pictures of the squad while staying there but the accommodation was incredible. The hostel has free breakfast until 8 am, it has a great view, delightful rooms, and for those who drink it has free beers until 10 pm.

 

Before going to Hanoi, we did a little research of our itineraries; but just like any other trips we were able to find only few of the places. Most of the places that are listed in our to-go list are either too expensive or out of sight. We are still students so we want to be as affordable as possible, so basically what we did was just stroll the streets just like what everybody else did that time.

Basically we just strolled around the lake while taking pictures and enjoying the view of the morning hustle. Vehicles were not allowed to pass on the street around Hoan Kiem Lake maybe because of the holiday season. Then we went to Lotte Observation Deck where we witnessed a blissful night view of Hanoi city, I think we were at the 60th floor that time. It was a frightening height but the view was so captivating it enlightened me. We also celebrated my birthday in the hostel where food was not allowed, but because it was my birthday, they allowed my friends to surprise me. We were also able to do the bean-boozled challenge!

What challenged us the most is the barrier in language. It was so hard for us to communicate with the taxi drivers, and the locals. Overall, it was a blissful experience!

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Check out these travel vlogs for more of our journey!

When in Thanh Hóa

 

On the 14th day of September 2016, Wednesday, first day of fieldwork, K46 students of Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry (TUAF) gathered at 4:30 in the morning, and left Thai Nguyen City at 5:30 am to Hai Tien Beach, Hoang Tien Commune, Hoang Hoa District, Thanh Hoa Province. We arrived at around 11 in the morning and after having lunch and we went on to search for places that are applicable for observation. The aim of our field work is to observe the communities (urban, rural, coastal, and agricultural), within Thanh Hoa City and to take note of their differences (organisms, biodiversity, species richness, etc.)

 

It was scorching in that place; enough to make you cringe even though you have stayed put to avoid sweating. The beach was surrounded by hotels and there is an amusement park under construction. It was pretty scary at night because there were no lights at the streets and we were the only tourists in the place. The hotel that we were staying was literally the only hotel that was filled with people. The locals said that tourists only come at a certain season.

 

We got to celebrate Mid-Autumn festival at the seaside especially our Vietnamese classmates. They lit a bonfire, sang and danced around it while holding each other’s hands forming a circle. When they saw that the foreigners were just watching the celebration, they started pulling each one of us like they were gripping on a tight rope. I am honestly horrible with these kind of things. I am horrible meddling with people especially during parties. It was a relief that I just went through it while running sideways and kept my balance. It was a relief that I didn’t get thrown on that scorching bonfire while my nearly drunk Vietnamese classmates held each of my hands.

 

The trip was a fusion of disappointment and delight; I guess life will always be that way. My whole being is always open to experience new things and to be exposed with different cultures beyond my comfort zone. I now understand that the world is not mine alone and I appreciate that, I hope you do too.