Hustle in HANOI: Looking West

Hanoi, May 12th 2010

Second destination: Thu Le Zoo. Entrance ticket 4.000 dongs. Very cheap compared to the previous one to Vietnam Museum of Ethnology which was 25.000 dongs. Very cheap and uninteresting as well. Saigon Zoo is much more worthwhile to visit. Not to mention Taman Safari Indonesia. Wow! I'm very proud of my national safari park.

A little flashback. When I was at Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, I saw several groups of school children. It seemed like a study tour. So was it when I arrived at Thu Le Zoo. So I asked my driver, "Is it a school holiday today?" He answered, "Only Saturday and Sunday." That day was Wednesday.

Third destination: Hanoi Main Post Office. I expected it to be something like Saigon General Post Office. It was not at all. I had already told my driver to come back within an hour. So I decided to walk the streets as I've never took a walk there anyway.

The streets were quiet compared to Old Quarter area, the place I stayed overnight during my first trip to Vietnam. If Old Quarter were the whole Vietnam, I would never come back again and again.

Maybe it's because of the boxes of story books that came from American missionaries of my parents' acquaintances and all the Ladybird Bug Books that Mom read to me, I grew up fond of the Western world. Western movie, western cuisine, western architecture...

How I would love to stay in such a hotel, but for free... hahaha.... Even if I had the budget, I would rather spend it to travel to one or two or three more places. 

I love windows like this. So romantic. So western... hahaha...

... and enjoy a cup of coffee with a loaf of baguette here, but for free. Even if I had the budget, I would rather... you know what I'm going to say.
P.S. I like the old cars there seen in the background. It's so western...

I don't remember whether this is still Hotel Metropole Hanoi or not. It seems so. I shot this because this is my dream window. A window that comes out of an attic. So romantic. So western...

Hanoi Opera House. It doesn't look as elegant as it does at night when the lights are on.
You'll see in my upcoming writing ;-)

I don't know what building this is. The street sign says "Pho Ly Thai To". I'll google that later.
I shot it because to me this building seems to have a Russian-Chinese touch on its architecture.
Not western, but unique.

Back to the post office I arrived. I exchanged my US dollars into dongs in this bank.
Before I left for Vietnam, I estimated that 1 USD would equal at least 19.000 VND. But when I arrived at the airport, 2 money changers I found both offered less than 19.000 VND. I thought I could get a better offer somewhere else. I went in and out hotels only to get worse offers. Here in Vietin Bank, I got the same offer as one of the money changers in Noi Bai Aiport: 1 USD = 18.970 VND.

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