After our Sapa adventure we headed back to Hanoi on the overnight train. We had an early dinner of Vietnamese and Western style food – hamburgers! Firstly, we had to catch a minibus from Sapa Summit Hotel to Lao Cai Railway Station and it’s a long and winding road. The driver would constantly break hard so you were being pushed forward and sideways around bends. You know what that means on a full, cramped, stifling hot minibus? That’s right – bus sickness.
Ashley was first to feel unwell, then Dacey and then me and finally Billie. Some Spanish tourists moved seats so the kids could sit closer to the front of the bus but poor Ash couldn’t hold out until the end. The lovely Spanish ladies provided a plastic bag and wiped Ashley’s forehead with a wet one and assisted her on this awful bus ride. Dacey fell asleep thankfully and Billie and I played counting games and memory games…it helped us until we got there…just.
TRAVEL TIP #1 – always pack plastic bags on bus rides from now on!
This overnight train left on time at 7.30pm but arrived earlier than expected in Hanoi at 4.30am. Yes very rude. Dacey had been okay on the train but once she woke and was on the platform she vomited again. I think the lack of proper sleep combined with heat, exhaustion and the end of a tummy bug made her unwell again. Luckily no one really cares about these things occurring in public in Vietnam so on we went to grab a taxi.
We had a bag this time and warned the taxi driver so he sat her in the front seat and drove slowly. He was a nice taxi driver. We arrived back at our Asian Legend hotel in Hanoi just after 5am to wake up the front desk man who was sleeping on the floor in the foyer to discover that they didn’t have ant spare rooms for us to go to straight away and we’d have to wait until 9am (that really means 11am). Dacey was still feeling queasy and we told him we would need to find some place to rest. So he called another hotel and they had a spare room for us to hang out in until our usual one was free.
TRAVEL TIP # 2 – always tell people when your children are sick as they’ll do anything for them!
So back in the taxi, around the corner and away from the Old Quarter to another hotel called the Garnet Hotel. On the ride we got to see a peaceful Hanoi with empty streets and quiet. Amazing.
So the 6 of us hung out in a spare hotel room (at no charge), used the shower, turned the air conditioner on full blast and watched Vietnamese cartoons lying on 2 double beds and we fell asleep for a couple of hours. Dacey didn’t sleep but felt much better after lying down. As we fell asleep we heard the loud speaker in the streets strumming out communist government instructions for all to rise and do their Tai Chi. The Vietnamese flock to parks or on the streets and do their daily exercise before it gets too hot.
After 2 or so hours of sleep we packed up our things, walked downstairs and thanked the man for letting us use his room while he called for another taxi and we returned to our usual hotel in the Old Quarter. Once there we decided to go and have some fun at the Hanoi Water Park. Why let a bit of sickness and lack of sleep stop you!
TRAVEL TIP # 3 – never let sickness or lack of sleep stop you. It’s all part of the backpacking journey.
And so we went from this…