Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Vietnam 2010

Another step northwards

I had a somewhat restless night, during which I felt that my bed had proved itself again to be the hardest hotel bed of all time! I also recalled, during another period of lying awake, pondering that the winter solstice was now a mere calendar month away - a strange thought indeed in these surroundings. After all that, we once again got up a little later than usual and, in a complete break with the established pattern, went for breakfast before showering and changing. We had arranged a late checkout and booked a transfer to the airport at 1230. An electric buggy collected us at the appointed time and took us the short distance to the waiting car.

On this occasion, the car was driven a lot faster than on our arrival and we seemed to get to the airport in no time at all. As ever, check-in was easy. We were surprised to find that a lounge was available, even if it was crowded and frankly not the greatest. Eventually, an automated announcement proclaimed a ten-minute delay - nothing drastic. We made our way to the gate and were taken the short distance to the plane by bus.

(Link to flight log in side panel)

After passing through the formalities at Hanoi Airport, we quickly located the Sheraton driver, but had to wait while he extricated his vehicle from the car park. Then we were on our way, with cold towels, chilled water and apples supplied for our added comfort. I thought that traffic seemed a little less chaotic at first, but this was set to change: absolute pandemonium soon reigned, even on what were supposed to be expressways. Even more striking than the chaos, worryingly, was the smoky, cloudy greyness of the scene all around us. I sincerely hoped that these conditions would prove to be a temporary feature.

Arriving at the Sheraton, we were immediately directed to the 17th-floor club lounge for check-in. We then went to our room, waited for the luggage to arrive, and hurried out for a short stroll through the hotel's impressive gardens as the remaining daylight was extinguished with alarming haste.

It was soon time for cocktails and canapés at the club lounge, followed by a room-service dinner of hot & sour soup followed by Malaysian noodles for Bruce and Nasi Goreng for me. A couple of mini-desserts had been left in the room as part of Bruce's SPG Platinum amenities and we quickly polished them off. The evening's entertainment was then provided by the movie Law Abiding Citizen on TV.