Day 14, Day 15–
According to the itinerary: Wake up to fresh coffee and a wholesome breakfast before cruising back to Tuan Chau quay. After disembarking from the Emeraude, board your touring coach and drive back to Hanoi. After lunch at a local restaurant, the afternoon is at leisure to shop, stroll, and enjoy the city on your own. That was not my day.
What I remember of this day: I woke up with my eyes closed in the morning. My immediate thought before I even opened them was, “I’m here. I made it through the night.” Then slowly I let the light crack into my eyes. I notice my dad doesn’t look well. He’s not. Oh no. He tells me it’s not as bad as what I had but I can tell it’s pretty bad. We both hobble onto the bus once the boat docks.
Sleeping. On the bus. Trying not to get more nauseous than I already am. I do feel 13.5% better than I did the day before and that was enough. We arrived in Hanoi to eat lunch. I couldn’t stomach food but I went inside to be with the tour group. My dad really wasn’t feeling well and he stayed on the bus to sleep. It was bad.
At the end of the meal the waiter brought out a giant cake that said HAPPY BIRTHDAY for me and my dad (our birthdays are 2 days apart). Everyone sang. I appreciated it, even though I get terribly embarrassed with birthday singing [that’s for another post]. It was so sweet of Friendly Planet to organize that with the local bakery for our birthdays.
We checked into the hotel and headed straight for the room. I optimistically thought we could stomach the giant birthday cake later, so in one fast swoop I shoved the cake in the mini fridge and slammed the door behind it, hoping the door would close and stay sealed. Sorry Melia Hanoi. We never did eat the cake or attempt to open the fridge again.
While others went out to explore the city, dad and I crashed. We slept 16 hours straight. I was the first to wake up and I had to make sure he was still alive. After a few times saying “dad?” and a nudge his eyes slowly opened and I knew we were ok 🙂
We slept through the group site seeing tour, but if we had gone, this is what we would’ve seen according to the itinerary:
On this morning’s sightseeing tour, you’ll explore the highlights of Hanoi. Stop first for a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and his “house on stilts” where he resided during the later years of his life, one of the most important and visited sites in Vietnam. Continue to the One Pillar Pagoda, built on stilts over a lake in 1049 by King Ly Thai Thong. A prayer here is said to bring fertility and good health.
Continue to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university constructed in 1070 by King Ly Thanh Tong to pay tribute to education and to those of high academic achievement. Today, art students sit on the grass and try to reproduce the traditional Vietnamese architecture on paper while enjoying the beautiful and well-preserved gardens of this quiet retreat into Vietnamese educational history. The rest of the day is at leisure to shop for last-minute souvenirs or to simply enjoy a last stroll through Hanoi’s fascinating streets.
Since we woke up around 3pm and hadn’t eaten for who knows how many hours, we figured we’d explore the city by foot a bit. My appetite was starting to come back and I craved salt. I found potato chips at a little market. Those were the best potato chips I’ve ever had.
Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at Au Lac Restaurant. We did make this final dinner. It was a good way to wrap up the trip. Lastly we grabbed a drink at a rooftop bar with a few people from the group. Earlier that day I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get on the plane the next day, but things were looking up. Thank you Imodium.