Monday, March 9, 2009


The flight took us 13 hrs, and we finally arrived in Hanoi, the Capital City of Vietnam.

There are `15 people participating on the ride. Three have Parkinson's. Here's a group photo; Catherine was busy and missed out being in it.
We were met by our guide for the next 10 days, "Hilly"
in the morning we had a briefing, and were driven to our 1st destination; the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh.
Ho Chi Minh (1890 - 1969) was a very revered leader, who the people attribute Vietnam's independence to. Like his Russian equivqlent, Ho Chi Minh was embalmed on his death, and is on display in a mausoleum. there were huge crowds of Vietnamese and tourists lining up to pay their respects to the great Communist leader. We filed solemly past his open tomb.... amazing...his actual body, looking like he is sleep. We spent some time walking around the grounds where we saw his house, his palace, and a museum dedicated entirely to him.
Later on, we saw a tradtional and unique Vietnemese Water Puppet Theatre, where, to traditional Vietnamse music, dragons spewing smoke, fish frollicking and birds dancing in water are manipulated by their puppeteers who are hidden throughout the performance, and reveal themselves at the end.
Monday was a free day, so Claire and I decided to walk around and see some of the every day sights of Hanoi.

There are two things that stand out in our eyes; the traffic and the wiring. The traffic is a never ending procession of push bikes, motor bikes and cars, all merging together without stopping. The sound of horns beeping can be heard continuously. It is really quite scary; especially considering that we are here for a bike ride... though we will not ride in the big cities. Our guide, Hilly, told us, "Do you want to know about the road rules? There aren't any!" More on the traffic later.

And the wiring? There are multiple electric wires going alll ove rthe place; some dangling down, trees and plants poking through. We wonder how on earth anyone would know which wires to attend to in case of an emergency.


  1. Glad you've made it, safe and sound. Take a good rest and have a good break tomorrow before you take off on the big ride!

  2. Amazing.
    Go Karenzi !
    Love Yon

  3. Dear Challengers!
    Karyn and Fred it is so exciting to read your diaries! you sound like you have hit the ground running but it sounds amazing! looking forward to more updates. Keep safe. Judith and the team at Parkinson's Victoria

  4. Hi Karyn, great idea putting up the blog. Can't wait to hear how your first day riding went. Say hi to Claire.
    Have fun & keep us posted