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Saturday 5 Apr 2003
Hanoi, Vietnam

Arrived in Hanoi

Ive arrived in Hanoi after a (albeit "cramped") ride overnight in a sleeper carriage! Lunch and breakfast was included but featured some decidedly dodgy Vietnamese "fast food"... probably some dog meat in there too.

I read in the lonely planet book that weekends in Sapa are supposed to be over-priced and over-crowded so Im thinking of staying here today and tommorrow and arrive into Sapa on Monday.

The SARS situation in Hanoi seems to be under control here.. apparently there hasnt been any new cases in 3 weeks (they were all restricted to the hospital where it is supposed to have started). I HAVE MY MASK IN MY POCKET just in case... but I think its safe here now. Im avoiding places with central AC (and people coughing) just to be safe

The SARS situation is also beneficial for a tourist in Hanoi... there arent too many tourists here at the mo so I got a great room with TV and private bathroom for 4 dollars (compared to the VERY basic place I stayed in Hue for the same price)

Im off for some "REAL" lunch now and will explore the Old Quarter today.. more later...

later...

Weather here is pretty dull and foggy so I didnt get to take much in before the rains started! I *did* manage to take in a show of the famous Hanoi Water Puppets which was very well done! Not to be missed!

One thing did freak me out though... when I walked in a load of people were wearing their masks (to avoid catching SARS) but most were not so I thought it was probably safe to assume they were just being overly-paranoid...

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