Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sat 8 Sep - Bat Trang and Hanoi

Today, we decided to try out Hanoi local bus system. There is a village or small town just outside Hanoi called Bat Trang that is known for its ceramics, so that place seemed like a good candidate. About an hour away.

We had our breakfast and then asked in reception for what bus to take and from where (Local bus 47, from Hanoi central bus station).

We knew already where that slightly chaotic bus station is, so we wandered there and pushed ourselves into a couple of seats to the slight amusement of the locals. The one way bus fare was VND3000, i.e. 15 Oz cents.
The bus ride crossed the Red River on Choung Duong Bridge and then turned south, almost all the way on top of a dike. Not a bad idea given the amount of water that falls here.
Bat Trang is a cute little place, dominated by... ceramics... and more ceramics... and... You get the picture!

Di could not help herself and she had to buy a few pieces. Well, there was a lot of nice stuff there, but I am not sure what the guy here with no clothes here is up to...

After an hour or so, with the mandatory downpour thrown in halfways, we made ourselves back to the bus. Next to the bus, there was some kind of a cat fight between 2 middle aged women, yelling to each other and throwing things around. We noticed that the other Vietnamese, when they saw us noticing this, got a bit embarrassed. Well, one of them just didn't seem to stop.
Back on bus 47 to Hanoi and back to hotel to drop off the purchases. Then we decided on a sort of circular wander west towards the Temple of Literature and onto Hanoi Railway Station.

One of those street barbers had set up shop just outside the Temple of Literature, so Hans decided to give it a shot. After all, the hair was getting a bit fluffy.

Mission accomplised.

The Temple of Literature was very interesting, with stelae of doctors who graduated nearly 500 years ago and Confusius. Wise friendly face, wouldn't you say?

Opposite the Temple of Literature, there was a little dam, around which people were doing exercises, but also with the mandatory fishing. If there is water, there always seems to be somebody there to try to catch something...

After that, we got lost. We thought that we were wandering main streets towards Hanoi Railway Station, but we ended up in a maze of narrow alleys. Fun. Of course, nothing is straight and after a while you have no idea where you are. Never mind, the motorbikes keep coming.
Then, right of a sudden we are on a slightly wider street and then we see this.... What the...?
From there on, we did find our way to the Railway Station via the backside and also managed to get ourselves locked in so that we had to ask a laughing security guard to let us out.
The station itself was vey quiet. More like a train museum than a railway station. Clearly, trains are not big here.

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