Dragon's Fire to Finish
22.10.2015 30 °C
HaNoi is the capital of Vietnam and yet another city of 7 million that we have visited on the Bamboo Road. Enjoying 2 rest days in this unique city has allowed us to truly explore a city steeped in history.
Some of our riders chose to visit the World Heritage Listed area of HaLong Bay, which literally translates to "where the Dragon decends into the sea". Its famous for the limestone outcrops which legend would have us believe were the result of fireballs from the Dragon. The Limestone outcrops are just like the ones we saw extensively as we travelled through Southern China.
Others choose an official day tour of HaNoi, whilst I was joined by Patsy from England (no, not "the" Patsy from AbFab), and Peter, the Elvis Impersonator from Sydney, on our own self guided, self ridden tour of HaNoi. Having visited here a couple of times before, combined with the advice of the front desk we decided to head off at about 9.30 and trundle around town.
Our first destination was to be Confucius' Library, the area of Great Intellectual Study in HaNoi nearly 1000 years old. Holy S$%^. Confucius say, dumb white folk who ride in HaNoi traffic deserve to die.
Don't they know the war is over? After turning out of our relatively quiet dead end street it was on. The 3 km ride to our first stop was like passing through Minefields, Sniper Nests and Napalm Bombing raids. Intersections are where 4 streams of traffic interact, all at the same time. Red lights are totally irrelevant. straight lines are meaningless and people, vehicles and any other mechanical device will turn whenever and wherever it damn well pleases. Your only decision is, can I get past the front or the back.
After our Confucian insights, and after a small altercation collecting our bikes from the parking lot. We'd lost our receipts and of course how could the lady be sure we were the 3 white people who had left the bikes with her 30 mins beforehand!! Given there were no other bikes and no other white people.
Heading to the Main Political Area which has as its main feature Uncle Ho's (The founding father of modern Vietnam) Mausoleum, Patsy did the quick dart across the traffic, which she was becoming quite adept at, and waited for us. As we manoeuvred our way across the traffic to this rather empty area to join Patsy we had at least 5 Soldiers heading for us from different areas of the compass. They could have been waving a warm Vietnamese greeting, but we decided that maybe HaNoi traffic was a better alternative to what was unfolding.
A ride through the old Quarter saw us pass Funeral central, street food which brings new meaning to the song "How much is that Doggie in the Window", and streets defined by the stuff they sell. The predilection to ignoring intersection controls resulted in me riding through a green light only to have a stream of Scooters coming from my left. As I went in front of two girls on a scooter they squealed when they realised they were about to hit me, jammed on the break and went down. Only one with helmet, but her holding her elbow, whilst her girlfriend was comforting her. That was close.
A trip around the famous Turtle Lake before returning to the sanctity of our Hotel meant that we had survived our self guided, self driven tour, but only just. Which brings me to the end of my story.
You see, my Bamboo Road must end here. I have been lucky enough to buy a business, Grandcucina.com, and I need to spend some time on it. The Bamboo Road will always be here, but GrandCucina.com, with some other opportunities, means I am cutting my trip short.
So my last observation was to be a post for October 31st. But I will leave it with you now. In the land of the Mythical Dragon, its been 4 years since I decided to Quench it's fire. Too many people's lives are ruined by the beast, and I chose to make sure mine wasn't going to be. I'm not being a Methodist preacher, we are all free to make our own choices, and ultimately these decisions come from within, but this vile, evil, insidious drug wreaks more harm than good. Thanks for following my blog.
Inhibitions take flight
Dragon's Fire gives "life"
Fog of confusion
Dragon's Fire takes life
Fight the calling