A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: JayneHol

In Transit

To Vietnam

rain 20 °C

It’s been about 12 hours and I haven’t spoken a word. I’ve had approximately 4 thoughts. The first was directed at a screaming child. It was heartless. Because the child’s continuous 10 hours of whining was too. The second was that I do not need beef for breakfast. The third was something rude about people who are rude. And the fourth was something like, “I’m going to take the stairs this holiday.”

I have about 3 hours to wait until my flight to Hanoi. I’m ugly and unpleasant and wondering if I should not have bought that bottle of wine at duty-free after all.

I do remember that before I took a turn for the worse, I was attempting to figure out what intrigued me about international airports. Besides the obvious, I like the fact that everyone becomes equally significant (or insignificant). Immediate purposes are the same and prejudices seem to be reserved for those immediate neighbours who don’t have the same idea about arm rest and leg room politics as you do.

I can’t think.

Posted by JayneHol 00:08 Archived in Vietnam Tagged children kuala_lumpur travel vietnam air_malaysia Comments (0)

That Eastern Smell

Hanoi, Vietnam

rain 20 °C

I find it quite soothing. That Eastern Smell. That familiarity that represents all things unfamiliar. I should shower. Perhaps then I'll get over my fear of those rubber slippers next to the bathroom and feel familar. It's drizzling. And noisy. And my view is onto the the windows and roofs of buildings next door.

I'm full of ice cream. Air Malaysia kindly gives one good ice creams after meals. I like ice cream. Maybe not mixed with gooey noodles, but it's still comforting.

I should go and shop for winter clothes. Suddenly a backpack 7kg short of the weight it took to India makes sense. Or not much sense at all.

My bed is hard as is the single thing that is in the place of a pillow. I like it round here. Rephrase: I will like it round here as soon as I get off my brick bed, get clean and venture out of my hotel room. Hotel is an ambitious word. Perhaps just my room.

I'm tired. Nothing much makes sense other than the Coca Cola I found outside the fridge and those toilet/shower combos that forget about the presence of toilet paper.

I'm doubting my itinerary. But that may be the swollen kankles or memory of a lack of leg room or the fact that the whole of South East Asia is overcast today. Maybe it's the fear of where to go for dinner and how to identify the word "chicken." Maybe it's the fact that the only words I have said for a very long time are "Thank you" and that I am slightly fearful that I may never need more.

Random pics to follow. A street excursion seems like the mature thing to do when one has no recipient for words.

Posted by JayneHol 00:17 Archived in Vietnam Tagged vietnam weather east hanoi jetlag smell especen_hotel Comments (1)

My arrival in pictures


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Posted by JayneHol 04:43 Archived in Vietnam Tagged vietnam hanoi Comments (3)

Hark the Herald Hanoi

Day in Hanoi

rain -20 °C

I’m sitting back in the place with the repetitive Christmas music. Except this time I’m drinking a Hanoi Beer rather than eating a pancake topped with sour mango bits. I’d actually hoped to escape Christmas altogether. Guess instead I’m getting it in Vietnamese. I tried.


I contemplated doing this on my hotel bed, then I remembered it was hard and I’d be required to wear rubber slippers. I’m also avoiding wine.

So I walked. Around the perimeter of the map. Until it got soggy and my legs sore and my photo skills unappreciated. I also reckon that 90 sneaky photos of fruit sellers may be overkill.


So here I am again being over-killed by Christmas music. Repeat. This is where Lucky resides. Lucky, who has connections to both the police and mafia. I figured that’s a good place to be. Seated somewhere in between law, laws and Christmas decorations.

I seem to find Lucky’s in different countries. The last was our rickshaw driver in Jaipur, India. This Lucky has less charm, but he has connections. To transport also.


We’re on round 5 of the Christmas CD. Why does this feel familiar. Oh, 11 hour car trips with Boney M.

I tried to find dog meat. More like dogs on hooks. I didn’t. I’m disappointed. I found dried shrimp and squid and other unrecognisable things instead. I’m wondering if dog meat is red meat or white. Once I know that I can decide between beef or chicken for dinner. I may settle for shrimp.


Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the new born king….

Besides that, there is colour here. I just decided to prefer black and white. That way red meat and white meat tend to have only tone differences and not colour as well.

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CD round 31. If I come back to Lucky’s for dinner, I’ll start the tally from scratch. It’s only fair. I’m in a foreign country. Always give one’s hosts the benefit of the doubt.

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Posted by JayneHol 01:41 Archived in Vietnam Tagged walking vietnam music christmas hanoi backpacking Comments (0)

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Jingle Bells

rain -18 °C


Posted by JayneHol 02:17 Archived in Vietnam Tagged singing carols jingle_bells repeat Comments (1)


Dinner and pictures

overcast 17 °C

So I discovered that pictures of food in the menus are taken from the internet. Lucky was searching the whole morning. I realised this when my pancake looked suspiciously unlike its picture.

For this reason, I decided to avoid the "Fanny Ice Cream" I could have had after dinner. I let dinner remain delicious and the pork within it, mysterious.


Posted by JayneHol 04:41 Archived in Vietnam Tagged food vietnam dinner hanoi delicious spring_roll Comments (0)


What does dog look like?

overcast 10 °C

I was not obliged to eat fried rice for breakfast, but did so presumably under the spell of some Eastern influence. It had approximately 4 different meat types in it. It did say "Mixed fried rice", so I essentially shouldn't complain.


The meats corresponded to 4 different colours:a chicken colour, a salami colour, a vienna colour and a mousey brown one. I tasted two in total- the salami-style sausage and the chicken-looking cubes.


Next time, unless my food is green, I am going to eat in black and white. Alternatively, at a coffee bar, I could always eat a sandwich instead...with ham.

Goodbye, Hanoi.


Posted by JayneHol 17:42 Archived in Vietnam Tagged food vietnam hanoi Comments (0)

Hanoi to Cat Ba: Phase 1

Neither here nor there

overcast 12 °C

All I know is that I am half way to where I want to be. It’s cold. I believe I’m in Hai Phong. I’m wondering whether a tour may have been a better option after all. This brave travel-there-alone thing is likely the type of thing recommended to groups or couples even, but I’m somewhat skeptical about lone female travellers carrying a stupid amount of Dong and Dollars, a lap top, a cell phone and a camera.


So the bus conductor and the lady who believes I’m going to her school in Hanoi for their Christmas shindig told me to go with “the boy”- he will get me to Cat Ba. I’m ever so curious as to why the Lonely Planet suggested a “simple” bus-boat-bus trip in the first place. I’d correct this: bus-meet stranger-drop off in the middle of nowhere-street café- wait an hour- go back to dodgy ticket office-bus- then boat then bus- then Cat Ba. At the moment I’m still at the street café, hoping that my last drink isn’t an old Pepsi in a glass last washed with mud.


I wonder if I even got on the right bus. The driver indicated to the other one.

At this point I question whether to trust a series of strangers and a potentially broken understanding of what I want or whether I try call a local hotel and get them to direct me.
It’s freezing. The only thing I’m remotely reassured about is the fact that I found some tights this morning to wear under my pants. I hadn’t quite expected an arctic storm from the north combined with packing informed by a stubborn desire for a summer holiday. I hope this is still a holiday and not my initiation into slavery.

Terrified would be the wrong word to describe how I am feeling. Sunday angst is the closest comparison.

Damn, he’s coming over here again. Scared. A simple word that. Sraightforward also.

The man with brown teeth

The man with brown teeth

Posted by JayneHol 02:33 Archived in Vietnam Tagged boat bus lonely hanoi lost hai_phong cat_ba Comments (0)

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