Monday, January 28, 2013

Ha Noi!

Oh boy! We're in HA NOI!

Dave and I flew out of Nanjing yesterday after pulling an all-nighter with Jack Daniels and Willet Reserve.  It was my first round-the-clock in about 10 years, and I walked a fine line between death and just wishing I was dead for most of yesterday.  Dropping in and out of consciousness in random Chinese airports is pretty cool/weird.

We met up with friends of a friend in Yangzhou at the train station in Nanning, got set up with a NICE hotel room (best shower since I left the states... my skin melted) and then went out for food that Nanning was famous for - I was relieved that it was just spicy noodles with veggies, stinky tofu and some soup with stomach and intestine pieces in it, NOT the DOG-Hot Pot we'd been promised by the guidebook.  Ugh...

Today we sprinted to the train - late because I insisted on taking another shower to re-melt my skin - and jumped on only to wait.  A few hours later, after dodging screaming babies and shouting old-men with fingernail claws rivaling Edward Scissor Hands, we arrived at the border, caught a taxi to Friendship Pass and BOOM!


The problem: The people at the border wanted to short us on the exchange.  We wanted 20,500 per dollar.  They wanted to give 20,200 per dollar.  Never mind that we'd only lose about $1.50 in the transaction.  Principle. 

The other problem: We crossed into Vietnam only to find NO money changers. 


We walked and ultimately found someone that would change Yuan into Dong, caught a mini-bus to Ha Noi and here we are.

The best news so far is that my friend Beth Klein's sister is still here, and we're meeting in a few minutes! YEAH!

More updates to come.  Tomorrow, Cowboy and I will try to find bikes for this idiotic bike tour we've got in mind.  We'll see how it goes.

I'm off to get Pho!

I love you all (but especially you, Michelle!)