... and Christmas is very evident in some streets in the Old Quarter: amazing glittery Christmas decorations, fake snowmen and Christmas music such as "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" and carols.
16.12.2010 18 °C
Having experienced the heat and humidity of August and September, October, November and most of December have been glorious weather! If (when) you come and visit us or Vietnam in general and want to come north to Hanoi, Ha Long and Sapa, then these latter months have been like the best summer's day you can think of.... but every day! Temperatures ranging from 27 - 25, virtually no humidity, evenings are warm and the mozzies are getting tired of buzzing and eating people like me. And then suddenly on Saturday, it all changed. It was foggy, damp but still rather warm so long T shirt weather. Going out on the motorbike, we did wear our cagouls as we felt it really wasn't wet enough to warrant the Vietnamese all-in-one cape although we do have them at the ready. Maybe we should also get the sort which cater for two of you on the one motorbike (we would have to remember to co-ordinate getting off the bike, of course!). Then today the temperature has dropped to 13 degrees and it feels really cold...........
The motorbike is really a scooter but no-one here understands when I use that term. We beetle off at the weekends around the city, parking is plentiful and always where you want to be. I must get someone to take a photo of us on the bike as we must look rather odd - two very tall people with long legs on this machine! I'll potter around on the scooter locally but don;t feel I have enough control yet to go into town. However, my bicycle is a different matter and today I cycled back with friends from our Vietnamese lesson, through the rush hour, grid locked roads as no-one will give an inch and you just worm your way through. If you've seen any of the numerous You Tube posts of Hanoi traffic, you'll know that it looks fairly hairy and chaotic but the trick is to remember to only worry about what's in front of you and, for us, to cycle/drive like a local and then you won't surprise anyone with any English road mannners!
I went out yesterday on my bike for some exercise and spent about 3 hours cycling around the Old Quarter, taking some photos and then up to Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum, museum and the One Pillar Pagoda. There were rather grey, leaden skies which I thought were a suitable backdrop to the austerity of the mausoleum: I want to go one clear evening to take a photo of it when it is all lit up - it does look very impressive.
Nick and his cycling pals wax lyrically about being out on their bikes and I find myself doing so too but my cycling approach is slightly different. I go out to enjoy myself, look at the world around me, stop if I want to take a photo or (as in the Old Quarter yesterday) just watch the traffic for a bit and see what comes round the corner. Just because I don't arrive home in a complete lather doesn't mean I haven't had a good time or had some exercise!