On Saturday we arrived into a blisteringly hot Hanoi and were transferred to our hotel. In the afternoon we decided to walk into the Old Quarter. I was skeptical after my recent walking attempts in Cambodia but we did in fact succeed. We passed by food stalls and men offering haircuts and shaves. They had nailed mirrors to trees or walls and some offered a seat on a plastic chair. Chickens roamed freely beside the busy roads and angry dogs had us giving them a wide berth. The electricity cables bow and sag dangerously on overloaded poles and many of the buildings look ready to fall down.
The roads are incredibly noisy, smelly and dirty. Hanoi has a population of 9 million and I think they all own at least one scooter. These buzz down the street constantly and the odd car and truck too. The traffic lights seem to be more guidelines than rules and every vehicle just toots their horn and pushes their way through to where even it is they are heading. Crossing the road on foot requires eyes in the back of your head as the mopeds, cars and cyclist head straight for you with no inclination to slow down.
All a little crazy and tiring, we were please to retreat to the relative calm of our hotel!