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Dec 27, 2013

Welcome to Hà Nôi!

Since I'm a bit behind on my posts, I thought I'd jump ahead for a bit to tell everyone that I made it to Hà Nôi just a bit ago in the early afternoon, 27 December, Day 19.

The last two days' ride from Ky Anh was the most boring of the trip so far... nothing but highway. It reminded me of I-5 from Olympia to Portland only grey, industrial, and flat. The only difference was playing ga (chicken) with the tour buses and tractor-trailers. That kept the adrenaline level up and me AWAKE.

The first thing I did when I got here was ask directions to the hotel. He gave me the wrong directions, so I got lost. I stopped at a café, had a cup of trá (tea), and checked my iPhone for directions. As soon as I sat down, a woman approached me and, with gestures, asked to clean/shine my dirty, smelly boots. A few minutes later she handed them back to me looking like the just popped out of the box! Except that out of the box they didn't sport new woven insoles. My motorcycle boots are now BETTER than new for only US$5... 

Welcome to Hà Nôi!

Back to lost... although the maps app said it knew where I was, it had no flippin' idea other than it was pretty sure I was in Hanoi. Don't trust the iPhone maps app in Việt Nam! At least Google maps tells you up-front that it's clueless. I consequently got lost a couple more times before asking for directions again. 

I even ran into three young guys from Oregon whom I'd met at Flamingo Travel in HCMC and who started and finished the trip a few days before I did! They were nice enough to give me one of their maps, but the one-way streets threw me and I got close, but no ceegar. I finally asked a woman who was nice enough to actually lead me to the Queen Hotel on her moped :-)

Today's trip map, minus the getting lost bits, is here.

The bike is parked and unloaded; I'm somewhat settled in my room; and I'm going to go wander a bit. Don't worry, I'm taking the hotel business card with the address so I can cab it back.

Thank you for your support, comments, and advice so far. 

Stay tuned... the adventure is far from over... or complete.

Love,

John

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