May 17, 2017 – Exploring Hanoi with Ella

entering the old city

Entering Hanoi’s Old Quarter

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I arrived at Central Backpacker’s Hostel – Old Quarter at 3:00am and was careful to not wake anyone.

I checked into the same hostel as Ella who I had met on Koh Rong Samloem in Cambodia. We met on the eighth floor for breakfast and it was great to catch up as we gazed out at the amazing view of Hanoi. It was quite chilly and grey outside.

We decided to take our time and explore the city on our own. Elle had already been in Hanoi for a couple days and knew her way around a little bit. Hanoi’s Old Quarter greatly reminds me of a European city with its narrow streets, walkability, and traditional brick architecture.

Josh, an American guy, Ella and I had met while travelling earlier recommended that we go to “Always”, a Harry Potter themed café. After getting lost, we eventually found it and ordered some butter beer! It was lovely and I wish there was a Harry Potter café in Vancouver.

Afterwards, Ella headed back to the hostel and I decided to do some more sightseeing on my own. I walked around the Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

I also stopped by the Vietnamese Women’s Museum. It depicted women’s roles in Vietnamese culture and society before the American war, during the war, and after the war. I’m glad I got the audio-guide to add more context and stories to the artifacts displayed. It was amazing and inspiring to hear how dedicated and tenacious the women of Vietnam are. During the war, one woman would disguise herself as a broom seller to sneak messages to other rebels. The brooms she sold were terribly crafted so no one would buy them which provided her with the perfect cover. Another woman actually acted mentally unstable and as an outcast so no one would bother her. Several teenaged girls who stood up for their rights, were sentenced went to jail and still did not give into interrogation.


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