The hotel I’m staying at (Hotel D’ Opera MGallery) decided it was time for the holidays. This tree popped up and so did Christmas music in the elevators. Soon the hallway behind me in this photo would be decorated with icicles and LEDs. Quite festive.

But you know what every good Christmas Tree needs? Trains. So yes, I went back to the train street.

So it turns out, there is more to train street than I had figured out. I had another work colleague show up, and she wanted to experience train street. So two things went through my head:

  1. I’m now an expert at train street
  2. I like trains enough to see them 2 days in a row

What I came to realize:

  1. There is no consistency in Vietnam (or at least Hanoi), so it is hard for anyone to be an expert at knowing anything unless they are a craftsperson and literally KNOW how to do something
  2. Yup, still like trains

So we head to train street, and as I approach the staircase where my friend was located yesterday. We got the hard whistle tweet from the guard and a NO.

Being an idiot, I continued to walk closer. Luckily, I still had a picture from my hostess from the day before. No one cared.

So I thought… OK, maybe THIS wasn’t the paid off entrance for the day, so as we were walking away.
ZZZOOOOOMMMM, this train comes whizzing by.

You can see the surprise in my face!

Turns out, maybe I was getting denied since there was an imminent train.

So I approached again, and this time, did not get access, so we went to the other end of train street. To get there you have to go around some shops (and maybe homes?? It’s hard to tell sometimes) to get to the other end. There were hosts waiting for us, and I showed them the picture of my host from yesterday and got concerned looks.

I couldn’t tell if they were afraid of this lady, or didn’t know how to say “she isn’t working today”, or, what I’ve also come to realize “maybe this guy is just too much of a problem to deal with, so I’ll give him a weird look and give up.” (We’ll get to this in a later post on trying to buy a shirt.)

Not having any success at ground level entrance 2, we go back to entrance 1. There was a chill everyday guy sitting next to the police officer. While I don’t speak but 5 words of Vietnamese, I do speak

Eye contact, and a nope, this is not the time or place.

So we went back to entrance 2 where we got a guy to take us to his cafe. Which was through either an alley, or a hallway, or a narrow dirty street for only mopeds. We took a left into… a garage, or maybe a kitchen and ended up just about 10 meters away from the entrance.

You could still see the cars and people whizzing by on the street. It was loud and not that great, so we noped out of that cafe and went back to the entrance. We found another hostess and gave her a try. Turns out her place was next door to the place I sat at yesterday. Fantastic!

Bonus! The lady who was the hostess yesterday was going up and down the street doing errands. I waved hoping she would recognize me and wave back.

She had no idea who I was. I got a reciprocal wave that said “you are a strange person and I fear if I don’t wave back you will be big and weird.” It was a magical moment.

So having seen that a train just went through, and they come through every 2 or 3 hours, we realized we were about to settle in for some drinks and snacks when……

Surprise! Train! (Yeah, no one expected this one).

You don’t think you’ll get surprised by a train until you get surprised by a train!

I think this one even took the locals by surprise as there was a lot of yelling, getting dogs and kids off the tracks, and a quick moving of mopeds to the side so they didn’t get squished.

I mean just look at the surprise on my face!

It was a different kind of locomotive than I had seen before so my guess is that it was shunting cars from yard to yard. (Look at me with all this train knowledge!)

If you saw the first train video, this is pretty close to the same thing.

So after we saw the last train we made our way out the exit to further explore Hanoi.

I’m just amazed when I travel outside of the US that small mom & pop type stores are actually the common type of store rather than big department stores and malls and stuff. Here was the official microwave store of Hanoi. Though I couldn’t tell if they were repairing them, or building some kind of super sized death ray.

This is what MANY of the “restaurants” look like in Hanoi. It’s people who are cooking, prepping and washing their dishes on the sidewalk.

You know those fancy restaurants where you pay extra for the Chef’s Table so you can eat inside of the kitchen. Well, if you REALLY like that, then Hanoi is your food mecca.

More often than not, you can see how your food is being cooked and get close enough to get dish water on your shoes.

I just continue to be amazed at stores that sell just a specific set of stuff. This isn’t even the biggest tape and bag store I saw, it just happened to be the one that I saw at the time.

Watch out where you walk though. These stores have all the precautions of any good European store which is, don’t be stupid, don’t hurt yourself and be responsible for yourself. So no, we don’t need hand rails or a little banister to prevent you from falling 5 feet down onto cement steps. Are you kidding?

So after doing a bit of shopping, and no, neither of us bought anything. Even though I did find North Face pants in 4X

What?!?! You mean those 4X North Face pants weren’t the real deal?!?!?

Also, as Right Said Fred said… I was way too sexy for those pants.

We wandered along Beer Street where I was hoping I wouldn’t get run over by a surprise beer out of nowhere. You don’t think you’ll get surprised by a beer, until you get surprised by a beer.

Instead, for the second time, I was approached by a guy who wanted to clean my shoes. I didn’t really think my shoes needed cleaning, but he was quite insistent offering to clean my shoes for 50,000 Vietnamese Dong.

  • Yes their currency is called Dong.
  • No, the jokes never get old.
  • Yes, I think most of us covered all possible derivations.
  • Yes, you should totally put your Dong joke in the comments.

I didn’t really want to get my shoes cleaned, but then after sitting there and thinking about it, I’m like sure. Just before I said yes, he lowered his price to 20,000 Dong.

As he was cleaning my shoes, three things occurred to me.

  1. Nothing in Vietnam really fits me all that well
  1. My shoes really do look better now that they are cleaned.
  1. In not wanting to get my shoes cleaned I inadvertently bartered with the gentleman and he ended up cleaning my shoes for $0.80 instead of $2.00 (20,000 Dong instead of 50,000 Dong).

    I didn’t feel great after realizing my accidental bargaining success, but he was happy to get my 20k and I was happy to have fresh looking shoes.

So after having some Soju on Beer Street (it was not the right decision, have beer). We went back to the hotel to chill out for a bit. I decided to hop into the tub since it was big enough. They even provided bath salts… which I thought kids used to get high? But I’m not up on the latest lingo. All I know is those little B**T**DS hurt if they don’t dissolve all the way before getting in. And yes, I thought they would provide bubbles. No, they didn’t provide bubbles, and I ended up just making a salty Brett broth.

Oddly enough, NOT one of the meals you can get on the streets of Hanoi…. yet.

What do you think? Time to start my Only Fans site for hairy legs and mostly straight toes?

I made this a very tiny graphic so you REALLY want to have to see my legs to see my legs.

Went out to dinner and had a FANTASTIC meal at a place I’d probably never be able to find again. Oh, thanks google maps tracking my every move!

Then it was time for bed, since, you know, I actually had work to do the next day!

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