Day 150 - Packing Up In Hanoi & Heading out to Sa Pa

Today is our last full day in Hanoi.  It has been a really fun 2 weeks and we have learned a lot and ate a lot :).  We are so glad that our apartment was outside of the craziness of the Old Quarter, but close enough to be able to walk there whenever we wanted to.  There are also plenty of taxis in the this city for further distances or if you are simply not in the mood to walk (it was only about $1 taxi ride from our place to Old Quarter after all).  The minute you step on a curb a taxi will stop by within seconds.  

Here is a short tour of our place here in Hanoi. 

We packed up pretty quickly because we really don't have all that much stuff with us anymore, and our hosts were really flexible with when we should check out.  

We checked into a hotel in the Old Quarter, not to stay there but rather to leave our extra stuff somewhere safe.  We will be heading to Sa Pa tonight in an overnight sleeper bus, and we are hoping for good weather (though it will be much colder we already know, in the low to mid 50's) so we can do a lot of hiking and see the beautiful landscape. 

We decided to get a hotel primarily because it was $10 per night and also because we really don't want to drag all the extra clothes and toys with us to Sa Pa and back.  By having this hotel we not only have a place to rest this evening, but we will also have a place to go to when the bus from Sa Pa arrives in Hanoi on November 22nd at 6:00 AM.  We can shower, have breakfast here (oh yeah breakfast is included in the $10/night charge!) and get ready to head to the airport for our trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

Vietnamese BBQ?

As our last dinner in Hanoi we decided to check out a type of restaurant we had seen in the Old Quarter where people seemed to be cooking their own food over a hot plate.  We've had hot pot while in Hanoi, which these restaurants also had, but what grapped our eye was that hot plate.  It looked somewhat similar to Korean BBQ, but there is actually oil involved and the pieces of meat and vegetable cook in hot oil.  I have no idea what it is actually called as the owners of the restaurant we went to barely spoke any English.

The food was good, though it did require a lot of work since we had to cook it ourselves.  It was similar to Korean BBQ or going to the Melting Pot, and I loved that it was served with two Bahn mi(s).  

Bánh mì is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread. The word is derived from bánh and mì (wheat). Bread, or more specifically the baguette, was introduced by the French during its colonial period. The bread most commonly found in Vietnam is a single serving baguette, therefore the term bánh mì is synonymous with this type of bread. The bánh mì is usually more airy than its Western counterpart, with a thinner crust. It is sometimes metonymous with a food item known as a “Vietnamese sandwich” (or, in parts of the United States, as a “Vietnamese Po-boy”or “Vietnamese Hoagie”), for which the bánh mì serves as the bread wrapper.

With our bellies nice and full, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our trip to Sa Pa.  Hopefully we can actually sleep on the "sleeper bus".