Going to Sapa..
Making the most of this free breakfast since its the last for a couple of days, the last free one I mean. Off to Sapa tonight on the night bus. Sapa is a town in the mountains and tourists travel here for an alternative view of Vietnamese life among the most scenic of backdrops that Vietnam has to offer. Unfortunately, the cold, cloudy conditions over Hanoi extend all the way to the North Pole, so there might not be much to see at high altitude in Sapa.
Check out is 12, bus leaves 6.30 so some time to fill. The room bill is settled at the agreed price of $11 per night, then off to the Kangaroo cafe for a coffee and some work on the blog, that should fill a couple of hours. A slow wander back to the hotel via the lake. A boy approaches, wants to practise his English apparently. As my pockets are pinned, and bag is secure, I don't see any harm in going along with it. About 30 minutes of fractured conversation ensues, his English though was much better than my Vietnamese. Quat is his name, quite sincere actually, didn't ask for money, no sick relatives needing hospitalisation or any of the other scams I was expecting.
Back to the Hotel via a noodle soup stand, and hanging around, and around. The transfer bus eventually turns up at 7.10. The sleeper bus leaves from a compound across the river, north east of the city, on the road for the Airport. It's a smart bus, quite new with drop town video screens. Leaves at 7.45 and Sapa around 6.30 hopefully.