Hanoi (Vietnam) First Impressions. Get to know all about it!

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Hello everyone!
Im back today with another Travel/Lifestyle post, this one’s all about my first impressions of Hanoi Vietnam.

Travel:

Think of the busiest place you know, Westfield shopping centre, being at the front of your favourite festival, leaving the stadium after the match finishes. There, Hanoi. Put all those people on bikes and take away most of the rules when it comes to driving and you can fully understand how it feels to be on a scooter in the middle of the Old Quarter. It is mayhem to a new driver. Everyone needs to get somewhere and an inch of space is the perfect opportunity for someone to sneak by you and disappear up the road. I think the only way i can describe how it feels to be on a bike in the middle of Hanoi is, it’s like being in a real life Crash Bandicoot game, anyone could swerve around and in front of you at any minute, there may be someones cardigan dropped ahead that you need to swerve from and U-turns are a given here, so watch out for those bikes coming towards you down that ‘one way’ street.
That being said, after you get used to the mindset, being a driver in Hanoi is actually quite enjoyable. It’s always fascinating to see new places, as you drive around. There’s a sense of accomplishment too, like YEAH, i CAN do it. I CAN drive here!

Food:

Oh my, now the food here. Hanoi is overwhelmed with smells. Both good and bad but find a good place and the food is just incredible!
We have eaten at so many different places here in Hanoi both traditional and Western. Moving to Hanoi i was originally very nervous about what i would find to eat. This is because i am somewhat  picky with food to start with. I don’t eat red meat, i barely like any spices, i don’t really like dressings or sauces. I’m a foodies worst nightmare. So you can imagine when i see ‘mixed meat’ on the menu i am less than excited to know what they class as mixed meat, however I’m currently trying to live with a ‘well you only live once’ outlook on life, so you know what i ordered? That mixed meat rice. It was delicious. I did only notice tofu and chicken in it (which was lucky) but it was truly yummy. Naomi has taken to eating Pho at any opportunity and for only 30,000vnd a bowl (that’s £1.09) it’s more than incredible value.
One day after work we went to a Vietnamese place with work friends and i suddenly realised i am actually no where neat as adventurous as i first thought. As they brought out Goat, baby birds, stingray and other impressive and petrifying foods. I felt myself coward back to the comfort of my tiger beer and rice paper rolls. I tried some of the sting ray and i must say it was tasty!

Sights:

Hanoi is rich in culture. It’s such a beautiful place to explore. I love our journey to work because we travel about half an hour away from our little Tay Ho bubble and in that journey i notice new sights every trip. If you have a bike take some time to go explore. There’s so many wonderful places to seek out. Including but not limited to the museums. Within our first week in Hanoi we had done three museums, in particular i enjoyed the Women’s Museum. Learning about the history of the Vietnamese housewife, the mother, the dress makers and the women who served in the Army. I felt incredibly emotional come the end of the museum. I really recommend going to this museum when you are in Hanoi.
I must also point out one of my favourite ‘sites’ to enjoy en route to work are other people’s bikes! It’s amazing how much people load onto two wheels.

I wanted to share with you some of my other favourite sights below;

The Districts:

Within Hanoi the city is broken down into smaller chunks, these chunks are known as districts. The most popular two you may know about before arriving at The Old Quarter and Tay Ho. The old quarter is what you want to explore if you’re travelling here. The old quarter is home to Lake Hoan Kiem aka ‘lake of the returned sword’.

Here is where you can sit and watch the traffic zoom around whilst having a beer up on the rooftops. You can wander for hours down the different themed streets that are adjacent to Hoan Kiem. You can watch the  water puppet theatre shows, get your hands on the best kinds of souvenirs and find some incredible places to eat. Perhaps what I love the most about the Old Quarter is the people, Vietnamese run businesses are the only kind here. Very traditional.

Tay ho on the other hand is quite the opposite. It’s known as the bubble here because of the ability to live in Hanoi without leaving Tay Ho. Here is home to most of the expats. It’s full of teachers, i say this as i too a new teacher now live amongst all my colleagues here in the Tay Ho bubble. Around here you are likely to hear more American, English, and South African accents than anything else. Unless you meet our door man, he speaks no english and our conversations are beautiful engagements of us nodding and pretending to understand each other. Tay ho has some amazing bakeries, inspired by the french, there’s a few places i have come to love along To Ngoc Van.

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I could honestly go on forever about how i feel living in Hanoi but i will leave you here for now. If you would like to hear more about my life here, do leave a comment and don’t forget to follow me on Youtube! because that’s a thing I’m doing now.

Thanks for reading

Danielle Jade.

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Reflecting on 23! 

So for those of you who may not know already, it was my birthday on Wednesday! That’s right I’m now another year older, time seems to be flying by so quick.
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So I thought why not do a post looking back at my year of being 23.
Why on earth do that? I hear you ask….

Well I’ll tell you why, as someone who is less than eager to grow up, I was dreading turning 23. My best friend Shelby and I always joke about how we don’t act our age and how we want to never grow up, but I feel that within the year of being 23 I have found the peaceful place where I can both be an adult and a child *insert Britney Spears- I’m not a girl not yet a woman here*

I feel like at 23 I have become a person I would like to know.
What changed at 23?

At the age of 23 I lived in three different houses. I lived in Yorkshire, Guernsey and eventually I found my new home in London. This is perhaps the most adult I have felt even to this day. Finding a house, decorating it and spending what feels like days on end putting up ikea furniture whilst drinking prosecco on the hard new laminate floor. I was ready for my new adventure!

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At the age of 23 I attended my first Pride event. I can’t believe it took me this long to join in and celebrate pride! I cannot explain to you how I felt on this day, to see the love and the hope from everyone around. As I watched the parade I felt uplifted and proud . A memory I will not forget for a long time. At 23, I also attended my first gay wedding. I heard for the first time, I now pronounce you Wife and Wife. Hearing those words was a huge highlight of 23 for me, finally, it’s legal in the uk. The freedom to love is legal and rightly so!

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 I went to a few different countries whilst I was 23! Some small trips over to Guernsey and some bigger trips to New York, Copenhagen and Gran Canaria. Whilst in these countries I tried more things I’d never done before, I got lost on the subway, I ate duck, I rode a camel, I hailed a taxi cab, I took a train to an art museum in a country I had no idea of the language,I lasted both a jeep safari and a boat ride on a hangover and I checked off more places on my bucket list.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and i enjoyed it! At 23 I became a little more adventurous and a whole lot more curios about the world.

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  At the age of 23 I bought my first Xmas tree for my own home, I went to the store I had them cut it to size, I bought the decorations, I put on fairy lights and I loved my little tree, I cannot wait this year again to select my Christmas tree! Side note; i am so excited for xmas. I should probably start my shopping though.

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At the age of 23 I started my first job in London. After panicking like a mad woman when choosing to live, before finding a job I relied on my experience and found a waitressing job. Now, is this the job what I intended on doing for a year? No, of course not. Have I met some pretty incredible people whilst working here? Yes, and that is something I would not change. Every cloud has its silver lining and the good friends I have made through this job, they are the silver lining. They are what keep me sane when having many a customer throwing a hissy fit and checking for gum at the end of the night. They have made 23 so much more fun!

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At the age of 23 I have mastered how to use the tube, this for me is an incredible achievement. As someone who panics in small spaces the tube is not the most enjoyable experience, this was only made worse by my terrible sense of direction, I feel at 23 I FINALLY got the hang of the whole tube thing.

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At 23 I became a parent. To a cat. Not a child…obviously. Can I just say, this seriously shocked about 90% of the people who know me as I was NOT an animal person and until Theo I would have said ‘I hate cats’ turns out, I was wrong. I love this little guy! Is it weird I also feel like I’m quite similar to a cat now? 😂 I WANT ALL THE KITTENS.

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23 was all about Friends Friends Friends. One of the things that stands out to me most about being 23 was how much time I spent with my friends, I remember openly penning a letter to myself at 22 saying that at 23 I will make time for the people who are important to me. I will show my friends just how much I love them, I will make time for the people who always make time for me. Now reading this, I can hear, I kind of sound like a bitch that just realised how they don’t appreciate others, not the case. I am a people pleaser, so much so, that I feel sometimes I made too much time for everyone and not enough for the people who are truly special to me. I think at 23 I have managed to surround my friends with the love they deserve.

At 23 I took the leap and committed to my blog, I bought my own domain and said hey world, wanna hear rambles from my brain, then come on over here! I attended my first blogging event and met new people, I hit over 3000followers on Instagram and set up a Twitter page. I reached out to other blogs, I commented on pages, I joined in chats and I discovered a whole world I had no idea existed!

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At 23 I explored more places in London than I thought were possible! From bars to galleries from flower markets to the zoo! From parks to concert halls! I have seen more of the place I had previously taken for granted, I fell back in love with the city I call my home.

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At the age of 23 I became addicted to Netflix. I binge watched far too many tv shows and used many a day off laughing, crying, singing along, telling myself one more episode then sleep, lying to myself about the fact I would watch one more episode then turn it off, and seriously regretting staying up to finish the season. All because of Netflix, I’m not even kidding, the list I watch is becoming crazy.

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I think you’d agree upon reflection, 23 was a good year and I am sad to see it go, no year however is all positives, I had my days when my anxiety made it physically impossible for me to leave the bed, i shut down on several occasions and couldn’t explain why I was sad, I too, like many people I know cried frequently over the way I look often and far too many times got angry thinking about how my life isn’t exactly what I planned out. However, at 23 I feel I found a little peace with myself to yes, have all these emotions but not dwell on them as much and change my energy. I have managed to find an escape in my mind that will let me be free when I need it and give me the positivity I need. Perhaps what changed me the most At 23years old was the loss of family and family friends. In particular the loss of an extraordinary and fundamental person in my family, in my life. A man that brought so much joy and love to everyone he met. Someone I can only aspire to be like. Someone who will forever be missed in a way I cannot even begin to put into words. At 23 I truly realised that life is what you make it, it really is too short to waste on anger, sadness or fear. I’d always heard the saying,’life’s too short’ but until 23 I’d never had it impact my life as much.

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So here’s to 24, where I will carry on with the changes I made in 23 and continue to push further to be the person I desire to be.
I may not have my life planned and ready to go yet, but I’m on a weird and wonderful journey figuring it out, with a whole lot of tequila and glitter by my side. Who’s with me?