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Emeraude Classic Cruises on Shanghai Talk - February 2012

Emeraude Classic Cruises on Shanghai Talk - February 2012

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Published by ekappletree
Emeraude Classic Cruises was featured on Shanghai Talk magazine February 2012
Emeraude Classic Cruises was featured on Shanghai Talk magazine February 2012

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Published by: ekappletree on Jan 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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http://shanghai.talkmagazines.cn -
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he next morning when I sidled up to a sidewalk caé, my driver’s words appeared to ring true.Te tiny coee shop was packed with whitecollar workers all perched on blue stools moreappropriate in height or preschoolers than grown men.Despite the act that nine o’clock had come and gone, they seemed in no hurry to get to the oce. In their polo shirtsand khakis, they sipped thick coee spiked with condensedmilk, briey trading in their loaers and dress shoes orip-ops so an itinerant shoe shine man could bu away the dust o the city. Tey glanced at their shiny shoes andeven shinier watches beore lighting another Marlboro andddling with their high tech phones. From the perspectiveo the sidewalk, work, it seemed, could wait.In sharp contrast to the languid dawdling o the middleclass in caes across the city, the trac o Hanoi is an animalunto itsel. At any hour, a wall o scooters barrels aroundthe Hoan Kiem Lake, jockeying or position amongst ahectic onslaught o rickshaws, cars and buses. Whereverthey are headed, they sure are in a hurry. Afer consideringthe pedestrian logistics o crossing the street over a cupo sweetened coee the consistency o motor oil, I bravedthe crush o oncoming trac mysel. Just making it tothe other side in one piece turned out to be my greatestaccomplishment o the day.Te rest o my time spent in Hanoi was a balancedtightwalk between the nerve-rattling renzy and laconicrelaxation o the streets and sidewalks, a dichotomy o activity that grasped – and retained – my interest rom therst morning.Hanoi is still very much a city that is holding on to theancient past, while letting go o the more recent events o history. With a history that stretches back three millennia,the city still hosts a ew crumbling remains o bygonecivilisations that weren’t destroyed during the war. TeConucius-inspired emple o Literature, built in 1076AD, stands proudly on the back o the VND 100,000 noteand also due west o Hoan Kiem Lake, the same body o water that is also the site o urtle ower, whose square,tiered walls date back to the 17th century. Radiating outrom the lake is the Old Quarter. One glance at the colonialarchitecture is all you need to note the French inuencerom Hanoi’s tenure as the capital o Indo-Chine early inthe 20th century. A squat, skinny, terraced version o atropical street that eels more New Orleans than Nice, thelanes around the Old Quarter are dotted with signs orquestionable massages and rung Nguyen coee.While much o the city was destroyed during bombingcampaigns rom the Vietnam War, Hanoi has reboundedover the last hal century, repairing both the emotionaland physical damage to the point where it’s hard to ndevidence that it even happened. While Hanoi still has a rmgrasp on its past and lags behind other Asian capitals, italso seems to be tottering on the brink. Just across rom theOld Quarter, skyscrapers are starting to rise and businesscentres are becoming crowded. Despite the act it is already a tourist destination in its own right, Hanoi still has aslightly undiscovered eel to it.
 Motoc ycles and scooes ,encumbered b y owein g  bouqueso  yellow and white  owers ,whiz ed b y on the esidenialhig hwa y as wemadeou wa yino anoi om heai po unde thecoveo  nig h. Despiehe acweaived apasmidni g ht,he cit  y seemedobe indes peaeneed o  hese  ast -movin g   oralaran g emens. uned to m ydiveandasked i  he ollowin g da y was aholida y. “ ol-e-da y?” he res pondedwit h alilin his one ashe searched his limit ed vocabula y  yin g  toecallhe de fnition. esival? Celebation? su p plieds ynon ymshamig hs pakeco g nition.elau g hed ,fnall y undersandin g .“  N o ,no.Eve yda y is hol-e-da y”  ell,hasoundedpomisin g . 
Where to Stay: Softel LegendMetropole Hanoi
Hanoi’s listing o ve star hotels is surprisingly short or acity that makes it on to so many lists o travel destinationhotspots, and new restrictions against buildingskyscrapers in the Old Quarter have stied growth inthe city’s most touristy area. However, the Sotel LegendMetropole Hotel has held court in the district or overa century now. Built in 1901, the French colonial hotelconsistently ranks as one o the world’s best hotels,and with its high standards o service and exceptionalsetting, it’s no wonder. Te historic wing combinescolonial ambience with rst class amenities, while thenewer opera wing rises up around the exterior, creatinga whitewashed backdrop to the tranquil pool area. For acrash course in local cuisine, try the lunch buet at SpicesGarden, the hotel’s Vietnamese restaurant. You’ll sampleeverything rom
 pho bo
to the sweet pudding knownas
, giving you the condence you’ll need later whenblindly braving the delicious street stalls. Beore youleave the Metropole, make sure to clamber up to the tiny roofop terrace and have a cocktail at sunset. You’ll be ina dierent era with just one sip.
Web: www.softel.com 
Hanoi:A City on the Verge

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