It's not enough time. Not enuf! From the moment we landed we were whisked away to another dimension of time and space! Vietnam couldn't be more beautiful and hospitable. Our wonderful guide Tom Nguyen from Albino Rhino tour Company picked us up at the airport and off we went to this beautiful land. But, before I go any further, can I just say, as far as a vacation goes, the first class seats could have been enough for me. I watched a movie, I sleept, I drank-ed the wine. All uninterrupted. If a muffled noise sensed from under my headphones brought momentary awareness of my surroundings, I soon realized NO ONE NEEDED ME and I happily snuggled back down into my cocoon. (see me in the first pic-happy as a clam, and yes that is a velvet pillow, that I was deeply in love with...)
As far as I am concerned, I could have just turned around flown home and been blissfully happy. (Thank you for those tickets honey! We got to live the fancy life for 14 hours!)
The first thing I did when we landed was ask how to say thank you in Vietnamese. It's Càm un. You're welcome.
This first batch of photos are all from Hanoi, in Northern Vietnam. Our first stop was the Hotel Metropole, a beautiful Hotel built during the French occupation (1858-1946). While the French did leave beautiful buildings and delicious flavor profiles, they left a bitter taste in the mouth of the Vietnamese people. It was so interesting to see everything from their perspective. Ignorantly, I was just going around appreciating the mixes of French and Vietnamese architecture, having no idea, how it all got there.
They are very proud of their heritage. We visited the beautifully curated Cultural Museum in Hanoi, which displayed the 52 different ethnicities in Vietnam. From the Hmong people who live in the mountainous regions, to my favorite, the matriarchal tribes, who live in the Long Houses. (The entire village and family structure is run by women:)
Each sub culture is celebrated for their individual traditions and beautiful woven handicrafts. Luckily they had a museum gift shop, and because the prices are so cheap, I was able to buy most of my gifts for people there! Graham was at once dismayed by the pile of things but thrilled that he thought I was done shopping for the trip. Ahh such innocence.