Our entrance into the country of Vietnam was a little rocky – and by a little rocky, I mean, I thought we were going to fall out of the sky during our landing…literally, just fall right out of the sky. But – we made it safely to land only to discover we landed during a typhoon and we were the last flight to land that day, so I went from wanting to punch the pilot to wanting to high five him for ensuring that our adventure in Vietnam could commence without delay! Our first stop was our hotel and wow is all I can say. Part of the reason we had chosen the cruise company that we did was because we got a complimentary one night stay in the Hotel Metropole Hanoi – it was probably the nicest hotel in Hanoi and many famous people had stayed here – any President of any country coming to Vietnam, as well as Brangelina. In fact, a French politician was staying there at the same time we were – his fancy car was outside with the French/Vietnamese flags on it. The building was gorgeous and I am so glad that we got the chance to stay there – we felt like major high rollers.
After our near death landing, we were famished so we grabbed a bite to eat at the hotel bamboo bar. This turned out to be a great decision – they had a pretty cool menu with several things named after Charlie Chaplain – apparently he used to frequent this spot (how cool is that?!). We also had a sundae named after him which was beyond delicious. And in the middle, we had some fantastic pho. We could already tell we were going to be in food heaven for the next 5 days.
One of the coolest aspects to the hotel is that it was still active during the Vietnam War and had built a bomb shelter to house their guests in if it was ever required. They recently uncovered this and offer a tour of it to their guests so we signed up and headed there. The most interesting part about this was that they referred to the Vietnam War (as we were taught all through school) as the American War. I’m sad to say that I had never thought about what other parts of the world referred to this conflict as. They told us stories of the bombings and it was really interesting to hear about this from a completely different perspective. It’s a reminder of just how ugly war is, but she said they try not to talk about it anymore so that they can move on and have a better life now. I respect their optimism for the future and was impressed with how well she could talk about the history.
This was such a cool experience….I’m so glad that we were able to do it. What a way to start our five days in Vietnam, too!