I had forgotten how popular the phrase, "same same but different" is here in Vietnam. Our bitter and talkative Cu Chi Tunnels tour guide screamed at us during our indirect route to the tunnels. We had to stop at the boat dock so they could try to upsell us on taking the boat to the tunnels. He said we'd get there more quickly, though everyone was to meet in Cu Chi to tour the tunnels together. Same same but different. A little more expensive. A lot faster in transit, though the end result being the same. And no mention of the fact that you'd get to avoid the free tour of the handicraft center along the way, which is probably the real cause for the transit time difference.
A traditional romantic honeymoon versus one spent sleeping on beds as hard as concrete slabs, with my husband taking one for the team by sleeping on the side that had more of an ant infestation - same same but different.
Pictures of us photo-shopped together because we can't trust anyone with our camera versus an actual photo of us together - same same but different.
Here are our attempts at self-couples-photography.
Jeremy does have long arms, and the camera's flip around screen helps to make sure we're both in the shot, but these were not ideal honeymoon shots.
We traveled to Hanoi yesterday, arriving at just before midnight. I had emailed City Gate Hotel because it was a Lonely Planet pick. They had a room for us, though the rate was higher than the one listed on their website. They sent a driver to pick us up, even though we didn't want one. The proprietor didn't bother to respond to my emails asking why the rate was so much higher than that advertised on his website. At nearly midnight, we just decided to take the car ride, even though we were being charged a premium. The driver said that the taxi rates just went up in December. It's possible, though as probable as our Halong Bay tour's price going up tomorrow, which we also heard. When we arrived at City Gate Ant Farm, we were told that the rates online were incorrect. So we're paying a little more - same same but different.
Here's a picture of Jeremy stomping on the ants in our disgusting City Gate room.
City Gate was disgusting. Do you hear me Lonely Planet authors? Disgusting. And by the way, they are selling illegal copies of your book for $4 in their hotel lobby. Same same but different? I didn't think so.
Jeremy wants to go to bed now. We splurged on a good hotel, so hanging out in the room is not a disgusting thought. Tomorrow, we're off to Halong Bay for two days followed by Sapa for three.
Some photos of the lovely Hanoi Elegance #2 room.