We’ve been in Hanoi for nearly a week and are finally settling in—at least for now. During our first night in the city, we stayed in a lovely hotel overlooking the West Lake—a restful and relaxing way to recover from the from the train ride north, the movement of which rocked Sara and Kathryn to sleep two nights in a row but, for the most part, kept me wide awake. The bottom line remains that I can rest few places besides my own bed—no plane, train, or automobile slumber for this insomniac, even with Ambien to supposedly assist in that process.
Tuesday we moved to this apartment, also overlooking West Lake—two bed rooms, two baths, stainless steel appliances, large, flat panel television, beautiful hardwood floors, and stunning views of Hanoi and West Lake from the roof deck. Most days I’ve spent in the apartment, as the weather has been suffocatingly hot, humid, and rainy, and the neighborhood over-run with unleashed dogs and diseased-looking chickens.
We have eaten breakfast twice at the Sofitel Plaza Hotel, as well as dinner there Friday night, while waiting for Kathryn’s friend to come in from Cambodia for the weekend. Yesterday we shopped in the Old Quarter and ate breakfast this morning at the famous Metropole Hotel, finally giving due diligence to our role as tourists—one we’ve long neglected since arriving in Vietnam.
However, Lucy continues to turn heads and charm expats and locals alike. This morning at the Metropole, she sat at the table with the rest of us, and the Vietnamese wait staff wanted to serve her a bowl of milk. We kindly declined the offer, as Lucy has never consumed dairy, though we did purchase her what must be the smallest conical hat in all of Southeast Asia, one she’s been wearing for much of the evening, posing for photos. It would seem milliners of peasant head gear here have gone to the dogs! Hats off to Hanoi!