Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.

Sick As a Dog in Hanoi

Hanoi and I do not get along.

The last time I was there over sixteen years ago was after a grueling 20+ hour train ride from Na Trang to Hue. The train ride was amazing and exactly how I wanted to see rural Vietnam and it’s the verdant hues of green on green on green. A friend and I had driven from Ho Chi Minh City up to Dalat (which was so cool with all of the tiny smoke-filled coffee shops and men hovered over their steaming cups in hushed conversation probably still trying to plot a revolution) then down to the beaches of Nha Trang where we caught a train to Hue.

The train was supposed to take 19 hours but with the single track we had frequent stops waiting for the on-coming train to pass. I loved the scenery of endless rice paddies nestled up against a backdrop of lush mountains when the train was in motion. The long waits at a standstill, however, got boring really fast. Nineteen hours was already 7 hours too long for my taste then add to that a 5 or 6 hour delay from which we lost our day to spend in Hue. The only thing to do was catch our flight directly to Hanoi. Dirty, tired and achy, I soaked in the tub for an entire day.

Last week I arrived in Hanoi once again in bad shape. A sinus cold had me locked in a headache as soon as the plane started to land and my sinuses couldn’t clear so my ears were plugged and my head boomed for hours and into the night. Then the next evening, I suffered a stomach bug that had me vomiting for half the night and laid out in bed all the next day and needing to be very close to a clean toilet – not the best way to spend a Thanksgiving reunion with friends in a very lively and interesting city.

I guess some places are just not meant to be that trip-of-a-lifetime spectacular. Being sick as a dog while traveling doesn’t help.

At least I had one relatively healthy day to go out and have some fun, a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, a visit to Temple of the Jade Mountain (Đền Ngọc Sơn), and a water puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater


Waiting around at the entrance to Temple of the Jade Mountain.


Navigating the treacherous sidewalks of Hanoi.


A brief serenity pause in between running after kids. – Hoan Kiem Lake


O at Temple of the Jade Mountain.


Lighting incense at Temple of the Jade Mountain.

That's me trying not to hurl while trying to catch a taxi in the Old Quarter.

That’s me trying not to hurl while trying to catch a taxi in the Old Quarter.

At Temple of the Jade Mountain.

At Temple of the Jade Mountain.


At Thang Long Water Puppet Theater.


M made quick friends with the sugary donuts peddlers.


Souvenir shop in the Old Quarter.


A super fun rickshaw ride through the city.

It’s been (kinda) fun Hanoi but I probably won’t be heading your way again soon for maybe another 16 more years!

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6 comments on “Sick As a Dog in Hanoi

  1. Nate
    January 21, 2013

    It looks absolutely beautiful there. We’ve been contemplating a visit, hopefully later this year. Cheers to all you supermom’s.


  2. allthingsboys
    December 15, 2012

    Oh that sucks! Maybe Hanoi is bad luck for you! 🙂 Or, third time is the charm? Hope you are better now!

  3. Dani
    December 13, 2012

    Ugh traveling sick with two kids while trying to visit friends. I can’t imagine a more miserable weekend–especially in a place where it would be so wonderful to explore (and eat). Looks like you didn’t let being sick slow you down at all though! You guys saw and did a lot!

  4. tashastraveltroves
    December 12, 2012

    Hope you feel better. I love the pic of M with the sugary peddler . Such curiosity and yet so innocent ! 🙂

  5. Kristyn Zalota, Founder Cleanbirth.org
    December 12, 2012

    The Puppet Theater looks cool! Sorry about your tummy:(

  6. AussyDog
    December 11, 2012

    I’m sad to say that while compiling a mental list of places I wanted to see, Vietnam never even occurred to me. Thanks for sharing! Vietnam has now been included =P


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This entry was posted on December 11, 2012 by in Vietnam and tagged , , , , .

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