Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vietnam: Day 1 - Across the Pacific

Well, it was that time of year again:  Jon and I were ready to bypass the Thanksgiving turkey order line at the supermarket and head off to another country.  Our first flight didn’t leave until mid-day, so we had plenty of time to grab a bus and the light rail to SeaTac.  Once there, we checked in with Korean Airlines for our 11.5-hour flight to Seoul.
The first flight was quite comfortable, despite the fact that we both had middle seats sitting along the spine of the 2-4-2-arranged A330, and we soon emerged in Asia.  The airport in Seoul was very nice as we awaited our connection.  About two hours later, we boarded our flight for Hanoi!
A little bit tired and a lot disoriented, we made our way out of the Hanoi airport around midnight for our first glimpse of Vietnam.  I always think about the road in from the airport as the first view one might have of a place.  What do O’Hare passengers think when they creep down the Kennedy towards the Loop?  Visitors to Seattle at least get a chance to see the Boeing 737 plant before cruising through the industrial side of town en route to downtown.
Hanoi nightlife was non-existent, so everything looked quiet as we rode in a cab.  I could see signs of the uncontrolled growth I had read about: streets had been widened hastily, and along the outskirts small pockets of high-density buildings had sprung up.  I suppose I expected to see something more similar to Bangkok with its modern highway and active nightlife.  Soon, we were at the Maison d’Hanoi in the old quarter and were ready for bed.

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