We started off on the wrong foot in Hanoi the second time. We knew New Year’s Eve would be busy, so in a level of unprecedented organisation, we booked a hotel in advance. However, the Blue Star Hotel is run by an incompetent fool who failed to read the email from Hostelworld and double booked the room……. We had to spend the afternoon hunting for a room, finally finding about the only place with space and of course, the most expensive room we have had in Vietnam (and it was mediocre at best). Oh well!
We also planned to go to the Water Puppet Show, but it was also sold out! So, we booked a ticket for the next night, booked a hostel for the next two nights and turned to Bun Cha (barbecued pork and noodles) for comfort.
After a crap start, Hanoi rapidly got better from then on. We ran a few errands for the day, then moved to the Central Backpackers and immediately met two Swedish lads called Albin and Marcus and headed for the happy hour at the hostel bar. There, we also met Will and Bouke and all went for dinner and Bia Hoi.
We then went off to the Water Puppet Show for a very odd, accidentally amusing (the beer helped) and ultimately enjoyable performance. Even if the translations were terrible and the puppets meant to be unicorns looked like lions.
On our way home, we ran into the same guys and all ended up on the hostel pub crawl, but as it was New Years Eve the next night, were quite well behaved.
As we had promised we would be better sightseers, we walked across town with Albin and Marcus to Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum complex, taking in the flag tower, Temple of Literature and Lenin park en route. Sadly, Uncle Ho is only visitable before 11am (at which point we were finishing breakfast), but we had lots of fun in his museum, which is very interpretive, a bit weird and chock full of anti imperialist propaganda, as you would expect when idolising the father of communist Vietnam.
We started our New Year’s Eve celebrations in excellent style at the Beer Temple, enjoying some exceptional imported Belgian beers. That was about as classy as the night got, as from then on it was all you can drink happy hour beer, hand grenade shots, drinking and eating Bun Cha joints empty, partying in the street with all nationalities, a bandaged toe and many other messy antics. New Years Eve in Hanoi, an excellent choice!
We may have ever so slightly missed check out time in the morning……. But as it was New Year’s Day nobody seemed to mind too much. We wandered the streets with the rest of the gang feeling sorry for ourselves and eating away our troubles until our night bus to Sapa at 11pm, a horrid length of time away.
Cheers guys for an awesome New Year’s Eve!