Wednesday, January 5, 2011
(PICTURE: Going from dinner to drinks...)
To complete the tour of Hanoi/rehearsal dinner day, Huyen and I had reserved the top deck of "the hidden cafe" in the Old Quarter. I'm not gonna write the name or address of this place since that would be like a magician revealing his secrets. However, this cafe is now in like every tour book since some travel writers stumbled upon it about two years ago. I owe my person discovery of the place to my cousin Justin who found it back in '08.
(PICTURE: In my opinion, the true discoverer of the hidden cafe -- my cousin Justin.)
To get to the top deck, one has to walk up three different flights of stairs including a very tight spiral staircase. I was a little concerned some of my family members would have trouble getting to the top but luckily every ascended with no problems. Although, my father did let out a few "Oy yoi yois" which Huyen then began to imitate over the next couple of days. The top deck gives a beautiful view of Hoam Kiem lake but as my family and friends soon discovered, is quite cold. Yes, cold. I had warned people that Hanoi was cold but nobody seemed to believe me. It wasn't until the wind was whipping around us that people finally admitted that they should have packed a heavier sweater.
After about an hour, a lot of the older folks headed back to their hotels and/or explored the night market which was right around the corner (man, I'm basically giving away the location now!). The younger folks stayed around for a while longer and had some more drinks. Huyen and my friends Celine and Dan showed up after a little bit and gave us a wedding present -- a really cool photoshopped picture of the two of us that makes me look like Hunter S. Thompson. I would put the picture on the blog but I sent it home with my parents and forgot to take a photo of it. When I get back to America I'll take a picture of it on my wall.
Around 10:30 or so, my old Hanoi buddy Long showed up at the cafe. Long came back to Hanoi for the wedding and to meet up with some other former Hanoian friends. It was great to see Long since it had been nearly ten months or so since we last hung out.
After drinks, Huyen and I headed home. It was a long day which started at 5:30AM and included sheppharding 24 people around Hanoi, seeing a water puppet show, a rehearsal dinner full of tears and drinks on a freezing rooftop. This was my last night seeing Huyen before the wedding since the next morning she returned home to Ha Nam. When we got home we both smiled at each other and said how happy we were that everything was going well...and then we passed out in about 2.8 seconds.