Friday, November 13, 2009
Down By the Station Early in the AM
What becomes a Legend most? Well, the Sofitel hotel group has named Hanoi's Metropole Hotel as their first Living Legend. Among the many reasons is the 24 hour butler service which turned into a slice of heaven when we placed an order for continental breakfast to be delivered to our room at 4:15 AM.
It seems our flight from Hanoi to Saigon was changed, squeezing down our time in Saigon to an unbearably small, few hours and so we were able to change our tix, provided we caught a 7AM flight. With the Hanoi airport at least an hour out of town and the need to be in place at least one hour before the flight, we were in our hotel provided van at 5AM and enroute.
Seems that this is an important hour for action in Hanoi-- the moto traffic was intense, especially around Long Bien, the wholesale fruit market located next to the Long Bien train station...and then the flower market, just a piece down the road. The night was still black but the colors of the fruits and flowers and the clothing of the merchants were delicious. We were mesmerized by the sights of Hanoi waking up and getting to work. We were in love with our butler. Indeed, the butler did it-- thank heavens.
While we were waiting to board, we explored the terminal which was not very interesting but did have a few unusual offerings, such as sacs of fresh fruit. I could not decide if these were for temple offerings (safe journey) or for snacks since peanuts are already taken by Southwest Airlines marketing teams. Certainly the gorgeous colors of cumquats, persimmons and bananas in various net baggies were a reminder of the street scenes we had just witnessed.
Hanoi and Saigon are further apart than you may think; so to pass the time (two hour flight) Sarah and I played The OPI Game. This is a fashionista wordsmith's easiest and silliest way to pass time-- we take the destination we are visiting, pretend it is the theme destination for an OPI nail polish collection, and proceed to make up appropriate names for product. Here's our list at touch down in SGN:
Russian to DaNang
Ho Chi Minh Red
Naplum in the Morning (my personal fave)
Hue Hue (another good one)
Sand on China Beach