Saturday, November 01, 2008

We are trapped in flooded, storm-ridden Hanoi with no means of escape. There are no trains out of here due to the weather.

And what's worse, we are stuck in a hotel near a supposedly famous and ancient Catholic cathedral, where the bells get played on the hour, every hour. I see absolutely no theological reason for this.*

If you were kept up all night by Catholics you'd have a black look in your eye too.

The hotel (our most expensive accomodation so far) appears to be run by an incompetent 17 year old son of rich parents, aided by motley a assortment of his less-talented high school chums.

We sometimes brave the torrential rain to go outside. My travelling companion (the one bitten by the dog), for example, has been going to hospital periodically to receive rabies injections  - from a nurse who has difficulty locating an arm, let alone a vein. Occasionally we are obliged to go out to fetch food, which is either joyless or unforgivably expensive**. We can't wait to escape down south to Hue, the former imperial city where reputedly seven course meals (of peacock, among other things) are served on tree branches and cost 8 USD.

* when I was in Istanbul I got woken up at 4am when all the mosques broadcast the call-to-prayer. The reason for this was presumably that 4am was one of the scheduled prayer times, i.e."wake up people, it's time to point yourselves towards Mecca and kiss the carpet". Whereas the Catholic church just doesn't want people to sleep for more than an hour at a time, and we have to assume this is purely because the Vietnamese Catholic church is run by ill-mannered sadists. 

** unlike in Thailand. Oh how I took you for granted, wonderful Thailand!


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