After I posted my blog last night, I still had one important thing to do: figure out how to watch Team Canada’s preliminary game against Finland.
The game was on at midnight here and I had a glimmer of hope I would be able to watch it when I saw I had a TV in my room.
I asked the man at the front desk if there was a channel that showed the Olympics and I smiled when he confirmed there was.
Alas, it was in vain as the Olympic channel here in Vietnam was showing ice dancing and curling. I guess in hindsight it makes sense as why on earth would a Vietnamese channel show a 3 hour game between two countries it doesn’t care about playing a game they care even less about.
I quickly turned to my netbook to see if I could bring up the live stream from CBC (the Canadian channel showing the Olympics).
I went to their website and gleefully clicked on the “watch live” button. After sitting through a commercial the feed changed to…
Sorry, this broadcast is not available in your location
I quickly turned to my old friend, the internet, to see if I could somehow fix this annoying problem.
First I googled: How to see CBC Olympics overseas?
The search led me to a hack website that had a free trial.
After signing up for their free trial and changing my DNS records on my computer I was up and running. The whole thing took me about 10 minutes.
And there it was… *angelic music*
Team Canada vs Team Finland!
I stayed up as long as I could but the lack of sleep the last few days caught up with me and I fell asleep before the second period started.
Oh well, it wasn’t that important of a game like the sudden death ones coming up this week. The best part is I know for sure I can stream the games so I won’t miss any down the road if I can’t find a bar showing them.
By the way, this morning I woke up at 7am to find that Canada was victorious in overtime. Go Canada Go!!!
Okay… so, onto today…
Like I said, it started bright and early at 7am. The forecast for the day was for showers and although it wasn’t raining out it was drizzling a little.
I had left myself the option of hanging around on Cat Ba for a few hours and heading back to Hanoi in the afternoon but when I saw the forecast I opted to head back in the morning instead.
I didn’t really want to hike for 4 hours in the Cat Ba National Forest anyway…
The journey back was another long one – something I seem to be doing quite frequently it would seem. I paid $10 for a combination bus-ferry-bus ticket to Hanoi that would last 6 hours.
After a ridiculous breakfast of hot dog, fried egg and a bun with jam I was on my way.
First I went on a quick jaunt on the back of the hotel owners’ motorcycle to where the bus was loading. Just after 9:30am we then drove across the island to where the fast ferries were docked. The ferry left at 10am and arrived in Hai Phong about a half hour later.
From Hai Phong we boarded another bus and then yet another bus as we embarked on a 3 1/2hr trip to the bus station here in Hanoi.
As I disembarked from the bus I was inundated with people offering transport into the city which is about 3km away. I opted for a motorcycle cause it’s cheaper plus it’s a motorcycle!
I was ready to haggle the price down to 20,000 dong ($1) so I was surprised when he quoted me 14,000. I accepted and off we went.
It wasn’t until I arrived at my hostel that I found out he actually said 40,000. Now, I was sure I heard 14,000 but I guess it’s possible he said 40,000.
I did come away from it feeling like I had been a bit cheated especially since I would have haggled with him if I had known it was that much.
I was greeted warmly by Zoom as I returned to what felt like home. I quickly settled in (back in the dorm room waaaaaay up on the 6th floor) and headed straight out to grab some lunch.
I walked over to the place where I had had the amazing rice pancakes with pork sausage during my food tour the other night.
I found it but sadly it was closed for the afternoon. I didn’t let that deter me as I just walked up the street and stopped in another place for a dish of chicken noodle bowl.
Once again I felt a bit ripped off as I was sure she was giving me the 30,000 dong option but when I went to pay she was saying she gave me the 40,000 option.
Once again, I knew I had been cheated but all you can do is shrug it off and pay. It was only 10,000 dong (50 cents) but, still, it’s the principle. Plus, it leaves a bit of a dirty taste when you get ripped off.
After lunch I went back to the hostel with no real plan. I started a conversation with two girls who were sitting at the computers in the common area cause, well, that’s what I do.
Ellen is from the Netherlands and Shelley is from Nashville.
After chatting for a bit, Shelley wanted to head over to the Water Puppet Theater to check out if tickets were available. I had nothing to do so I offered to come with to lead them in the right direction since I knew where the place was.
The three of us along with a man from France, Roman, walked over there and, of course, they were sold out for today.
Shelley bought a ticket for tomorrow night and since I had nothing planned for tomorrow night I figured, what the hell, I’ll see the show again.
After all it was an amazing show and it was only 60,000 dong ($3) so why not?
So, what do you do in the late afternoon when there’s nothing to do? Have Vietnamese Egg Coffee of course!
We went to the place I had visited on my street food tour the other night and for 20,000 dong we had us some of that, oh, so wonderful creamy, sweet coffee.
By now it was 6pm and we were getting a bit hungry. We spotted a cool little place, Xoi Yen, on the corner that looked like it was doing brisk business.
Enticed by that and the display of yummy ingredients in front of us we ordered one of their dishes.
Of course, we had no idea what it was. We saw chicken and rice and what looked like potato with some crispy onion.
Later we learned we ordered Xoi Xeo Ga and what we thought was potato was actually a paste of mung bean. It was sooooo good and filled us up for only 37,000 dong ($1.80).
Night was soon upon us and I was determined to do two things I had passed on when I was in Hanoi the other nights – the night market and a Vietnamese musical concert.
Shelly was game to join me so the plane was to see the hour long concert at 8pm and then head over to the nearby night market.
That was the plan…
Now, if you’re an avid reader of this blog you’ll recognize that last sentence. It usually means that, as is apt to happen, the plan fell through.
This was, of course, no different.
We walked over to the little temple that puts on the concert only to find the doors closed. Crap. On a whim I decided to ask the front desk man of a nearby hotel if there was another place doing a concert on Mondays but it turns out there’s only two and they alternate days.
Of course, neither of them do them on Monday…
Oh well, no big deal – there will be ample time to see a concert of Vietnamese music as I still have a good two weeks left here.
So, we trotted off to the night market…
That was the plan…
Yup, turns out the night market is only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Well, so much for our plans for the evening!
We just kind of laughed. I mean, what can you do? Stuff like this happens when you’re travelling and all you can do is shrug it off. Besides, makes for an interesting story.
On our way back to the hostel I brought Shelly over to the place where I had that yummy sugar cane and kumquat juice on the street food tour. We had that along with some rice sesame balls that they were selling at the same place.
Pretty sweet stuff but and a pretty decent substitute for our dashed plans for the evening.
By 9pm we were back at the hostel and, for me, it was time to just relax and head to bed relatively early.
On the bed next to me I had noticed a cute little stuffed animal – a cat, you could tell it was worn and had been on a few travels.
I was dying to hear the story behind it but the owner of the bed had been out all day.
A little while later a middle aged man walked in and sat down on the bed. I immediately struck up a conversation with him saying how much I love his little cat. He smiled and told me his name was Wellington.
And then I spent the next hour listening to his fascinating story.
He has been battling cancer his whole life and was diagnosed with terminal cancer 15 months ago. Rather than laying down and wait for the inevitable he sold everything he had and 3 weeks later he was on the road.
I myself am so inspired by his story and I hope that anytime I’m stuck at some point in my life I’ll look back at him and put everything in perspective.
And to think, if it weren’t for that little stuffed cat sitting on his bed I might not have heard his story.
What a great way to end the day.