Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hanoi Vietnam

This weekend we decided to get away from Singapore and see another place on our list of places to see before we leave Southeast Asia. On Friday Andrea, Anna and I boarded a plane in Singapore bound for Hanoi Vietnam. While we were there we walked around town, ate a lot of pho, shopped and took a trip to Ha Long Bay. All of it was really good.

Ha Long Bay was impressive but we have been spoiled by having been to Milford Sound so it didn't wow us like it would have had we been there first.

Now that I have been to Hanoi I am not sure I would go back a second time but I am glad we got to go on this trip. It is always good to spend uninterrupted time with Andrea and Anna no matter where we are. We played a lot of digital hangman and I dominated of course...

Before we left Singapore I got my long run in on Thursday so I would not have to run long in a strange place. I am glad I did. Hanoi is dusty and pollution is pretty bad and I would not want to run a couple of hours and breathe that stuff in big gasping breaths more than necessary. I have a Hanoi sore throat as it is. I did get to run twice.

Saturday morning I got up stretched and walked out on the streets at about 6:45am. Our hotel was on a very local street and right outside of the door a lady was cleaning and selling fish. There are women everywhere with a pot of steaming soup for sale on the sidewalk while their patrons sit on small stools about a foot off of the ground sipping from a plastic bowls full of hot liquid with various forms of vegetables, noodles and meat mixed in and drinking from clear cups of black or creamy coffee.

I weaved through the crowded sidewalks and jumped over sleeping dogs until I made it to the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake about half a mile from the hotel. The sidewalk around the lake was crowded with people walking and running and exercising. It was a little over a mile around the lake so I ran it four times to get five miles in. The second time around the lake there was a guy carrying a dog. The dog was trying to get out of his arms and was trashing wildly all over the place. To avoid a collision I side stepped into a hole and rolled my ankle. I was ticked off. I limped around for a little while and it started to feel better. I ran tentatively on it for a while and within a half a mile was able to run normally. Close call. I would hate to have marathon training ruined by a crazy dog and a poorly maintained sidewalk.

There was a man that showed up on my second lap around the lake. He had a black singlet with red trim and super short shorts that were black with a wide red lace waistband. He tiptoed in his walking shoes in the street off of the sidewalk where everyone would notice him and swung his hand in a very effeminate way by his side. All of the locals seemed to know him. He may have looked manly in normal street clothes but not so much in his exercise gear.

There were many people doing Tai Chi on the sidewalks. Some of it was very regimented like Tai Chi normally is but some of it was really free form with mostly older people swinging their hips with their arms in the air while others were doing something completely different to the twangy Asian music. I had to laugh.

I ran the same route on Monday morning before we flew home. The same people were at the lake doing the same exercises.