1st Day Part Mot.
The visa on arrival process was super easy and quick once I arrived in Hanoi. I waited in line for about 10 minutes before handing them my pre approved letter for a 3 month visa, an entry and exit form along with a 2 x 2 passport photo, and my US passport. Then I waited in another line for another 15 minutes to pay the $25 stamping fee. I did read stories about how some folks have to wait a couple of hours before.
After that, I headed over to customs and I went through that without any issues. I've heard so many stories how they would ask you for " Coffee money" before they would let you go through. None of that happened to me (not for this trip so far anyway). I did, however, folded two $1 bills together just in case he asked.
I didn't get hackle by too many taxi drivers once I'm outside of the airport looking for a ride to the Old Quarter, where the hostel I am staying in is. I think 3 people asked me but they weren't going crazy going after my money. It helps since I have no problem ignoring people. I just kept walking. Or maybe because I'm Asian so they assume that I know where I am going.
I decided to take a mini bus for $3 instead of a taxi which would have cost me $15 to $17 to get to my destination. Another American did ask me if I want to share a taxi with him but no thanks. That would still have cost me $8 or $9 instead of just $3. I'm a cheap bastard but it makes me happy.
|Yay....$3 crappy bus ride.|
Within the first 30 minutes after leaving the airport, I have seen so many crazy and weird things that would consider abnormal back in the states. Things like a family of 4 riding on a scooter, lady riding a scooter with 3 baskets of live chickens in the back, a guy riding a scooter with a 6 ft tree strapped to the back of his bike, trucks taking U-turns in the middle of the highway, and honking at everything at everyone for no reason is the norm here. I have heard stories from friends and family telling me these stuff but it's different when you see it in person. It was crazy but I loved it. I also have confirmed that working traffic lights does not work in Hanoi. Road lanes are some what useful but not really.
|You eat that corn, kid. You eat it good.|
|Those chickens must be freaking out in the back. Lady got skills though.|
|Cloudy day. That's it.|
|Scooter seats. Comes in different colors and styles. Stay cool bikers.|
|Yup look at how useful those road lanes are.|
Finally, I like how the bus driver just dropped me off 20 minutes walking distance away from where I wanted to go. But hey it's $3!! Good thing I had a map (Thanks to my pal, Waiching) or else I would have been walking around clueless. And thank you for street signs.
One last note before heading out to the night market with some people. I want to say a big thank you to Swiss Airway. Life can't get any better than this.....just kidding. It can but this sure did made me a happy man for 7 hours.
|I love you, Swiss International Airway.|