We are enjoying the cleanliness of our hotel room. Having both showered, we feel reborn. Jeremy is sleeping quite soundly, and I don't want to disturb him. Our train last night left at 8:15PM, but we were sharing a cabin with two locals who stayed up and chatted for a little while, though once we turned in, they soon followed. The train stopped a number of times, waking us up, as we were both sleeping with one eye open in case of attack or robbery. I was awake at 11:15, 12:21, 3:25, 3:53, 4:15, and finally about 4:30 when we pulled into the station. Having nothing else to do so early in the morning, we decided to walk back into the Old Quarter of Hanoi. This proved to be an interesting experience, since we didn't really know where we were going, we were limited to the maps in our Lonely Planet guidebook, it was pitch black, and we both really needed to use the restroom. While it was somewhat tranquil to not hear the constant beeping of horns (they were sporadic), it was a bit unnerving to know that we were walking blindly through the filth of the streets, sometimes walking on the sidewalk and sometimes walking next to it, feeling wetness or squishiness with a few of our steps. I let out a shriek when I stepped on a stick - I thought I was being attacked by a rodent.
With the help of a few kind people, we made it back to our hotel and enjoyed breakfast. We then wandered and looked at backpacks. We were interested in buying one, but I guess we spent too long at one store examining our many options, for the proprietor waved us away and grabbed the bags from our hands as if we were disgusting creatures (perhaps she has a keen sense of smell) who had just sullied her merchandise by being in its presence.
We were able to get an early check in, and we quickly broke into action, wrapping up the truly vile clothing, figuring out what was wearable, and determining what needed a wash so we could use it during the next 48 hours. We washed out a few items, and I'll later post a photo of the wash water, for it was so surprisingly gray I had to take a picture of it.
Jeremy is stirring. Perhaps I'll soon be able to convince him to venture out of the hotel (we can come back!) to get some lunch. Many of the tours we've booked have included our food, which isn't the way either one of us likes to eat.