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Friday 11 Apr 2003
Hanoi, Vietnam

Perfume Pagoda

Arrived back into Hanoi this morning... but this time I was ready for the train attendant and had all my clothes on by the time the knocking came on the door (no two-minute-till-train-leaves rushing this time!)

After checking into the hotel (4 dollars again!) I decided to head off to the Perfume Pagoda tour (a whopping 8 bucks!).

The tour basically involved climbing up 2 hours-worth of steps along a mountainside in my flip-flops. The climb culminated in the awesome view of a large cave that was used as one of the first Buddhist places of worship in Vietnam (around 2 AD). The cave was quite amazing, yet inside there were many Buddhists (who make the arduous climb as a way showing their faith - they must think we non-Buddhists are crazy since we do it for fun ?!) praying at various alters, so I would have felt a bit awckward taking photos... alas all my photos are of the entrance way... still good though.

In retrospect though, I dont think it was worth 8 bucks though.. I think I could have hired a moto for 3-4 dollars and just do the trip myself... as a french friend of mine, Vincent, would say: "Putain!!"

Alors! Im heading off to Halong Bay tomorrow morning at 7am for 3 days... gonna try to avoid doing the 14 km trek and take the easy option of using a moto to cross Cat Ba national park (at this stage Im all trekked out!). I got the trip for 20 dollars, which is a bargain by all accounts (that includes two nights hotel and breakfast, lunch, dinner for 3 days!)

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