On arrival in Hanoi, I was met by 38 degree heat and a chorus of car horns. We stay in the old quarter where my senses are overwhelmed by the aroma of food, the hum of motorbikes, the towering buildings and wires that form a canopy over the bustling street.
The first day we spent looking around the area and getting to know the group. That evening we visited a couple of bars, bonded over free shots at the hostel's happy hour and toasted to the three weeks ahead of us with $2 beers!
On our first full day we meet our guide, Chien, who taught us some of the history of Vietnam as we visited the incense infused temple where offerings stood on alters and locals prayed for good fortune. We later went to the temple of literature which was once a great university and watched a live performance of Vietnamese music!
At lunch we tried the delicious Vietnamese egg coffee, before visiting the prison museum where we saw the dungeons the Vietnamese were tortured in and the brutal guillotine. It was very shocking and moving to learn about that element of Vietnam's history.
In the evening some of the group went to snake village, where they had the opportunity to drink a shot of snake blood mixed with rice wine! The snake is gutted in front of them and it's heart still beats for moments afterwards! The more squeamish of the group opt out but a few are determined to tick this off their bucket lists!
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