Tuesday, Feb. 16th (Hanoi to somewhere 100km East of Na Meo border crossing)

  • Snuck into Hanoi Rocks Hostel to use their studio for a workout and take advantage of their buffet breakfast.
  • Cory did the same for breakfast shortly after and we met up back at our hostel, Hanoi Central Backpackers – Old Quarter Location.
  • Packed up, checked out, then went for Hanoi’s famous Egg Coffee with an American girl, Gia, and a French guy, Ben, that we met in the lobby on our way out.
  • We were the only foreigners in the whole place when we showed up to Cafe Giang, the godfather of the Egg Coffee movement in Hanoi. Despite its popularity and excellent reviews online, the cafe has clearly managed to maintain its local vibe, uninfluenced by whatever travellers pass through its doors.
  • The egg coffee itself is outstanding, combining coffee, milk, and whipped egg yolk. It doesn’t smell great, but the taste is comparable to a creamier, more flavourful cappuccino, and that’s with no sugar added. There is a hint of egg in the aftertaste, but we all agreed that it was a delicious treat, and something we would order frequently if available back home.
  • Next, Ben and Gia took us to a cafe that they had passed earlier in their wanderings called Always. It is Harry Potter themed with Hogwarts-style architecture and a back room covered in Harry Potter paraphernalia, including: framed pictures, broomsticks, banners, and sign posts. The walls are plastered with blow-ups of Daily Prophet articles and even the menu was in theme. I ordered a Polyjuice Potion, Cory ordered Felix Flics, Ben ordered Amortentia, and Gia ordered Butter Beer.
  • By this time we had completely let the morning slip away from us, so we hurried back to our hostel, strapped up our bags, then hit the road.
  • We drove until dark, just managing to pull into a small highway town before the light faded.
  • Luckily, a woman on the sidewalk where we stopped noticed that we were scouting for a place to stay and walked us into her guesthouse.
  • She turned out to be a Saint with an affable personality and a great smile. She refunded us 30K VND on the room price when she saw that we didn’t have enough money left for dinner.
  • With our newfound wealth we bought some rice soup for dinner at a local restaurant, then returned to the guesthouse and did a couple hours of reading/research before heading to bed.
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