So we put on our rain jackets and set out to explore Hanoi. We started out making a tour around our block where we found a little grocery and stocked up on water. People were friendly and interested in the baby in Saigon, but they are even more so here. We feel like celebrities walking down the street as people everywhere smile and wave at us and often stop us to talk to us and touch the baby. The women at the grocery stall gave him a lollipop. The old woman pictured with Hung gave us some sweet bean cakes. She told us she is 80 years old and feels very strong.
Next we made our way toward Hoan Kiem Lake. Only when we reached the lake did people come up to us to try to sell us things. In all the other streets they were just interested in the baby. Part of the attention may have been because of the backpack kid carrier. We even noticed some people taking pictures of us. The carrier worked well this day because we walked long distances and the rain fly kept most of the rain off the kid. At the lake we stopped to rest and have some ice cream.
Next we made a tour of the lake, including a visit to the temple on the little island accessed via the red bridge. At the south end of the lake we met another adoptive family and stopped to chat for a few minutes. We decided to stop for lunch in the Old Quarter on our way back to the hotel. We tried to go to Koto, a restaurant recommended by the guidebook and by people on the vietnam adoption forum, but our guidebook was out of date and it had moved to another neighborhood. The next place to tried was Little Hanoi, and we were rewarded with a tasty meal. Back at the hotel it was nap time for a couple of hours until we ventured out again for dinner.
For dinner we decided to try Highway 4, recommended by the guidebook and by the hotel concierge. We thought we could walk there, but it was much farther than it looked on the map. We were exhausted by the time we got there, and then they seated us in an upper room with Japanese style seating on floor cushions around a low table. Hung commented that this would have been a lot more comfortable if we were 15 years younger. The kids were cranky and tired too, and we struggled through dinner, but the food was delicious. The catfish spring rolls were wonderful and Hung said his fried rice was the best he's had since arriving in Vietnam. We took a cab home and promptly crashed in bed.