BootsnAll Travel Network

Shopping in Hanoi: Merry Christmas to me.

Capital cities are not necessarily my favorite places, but when it comes to shopping, often times the capital is the only place to either find items or to get the best deal. Making my way north, the climate definitely changed and I found myself lacking in warm attire. The other major purchase was a digital camera as the old Kodak just wasn’t consistently functional. Also I noticed that even when it did work that it had developed a minor case of fish eye/bowl (clear in the center and blurring around the edges. I had started looking for a camera in Hue, but even in that major tourist town, the selection and prices were bad. Luckily, I didn’t buy there.

My rain poncho and pants kept me dry but once I passed Hue, the rain and climate turned cold and my light fleece just wasn’t cutting it. I picked up this XXL puffy jacket to carry me through the much colder north. I thought about doing leather, but stuck with what I know works. Went with synthetic as down is great for trekking, riding on a motorcycle creates forced water injection which would quickly saturate the feathers. XXL so it keeps the seams away from the body and allows for heat buildup. On a cold night, a nice fluffy jacket makes great insulation or even an extra pillow. I’m in Sapa now, one of the coldest places in Vietnam at one of the coldest months of the year and no problems with staying warm and dry. This makes my third puffy jacket on this trip. Got some knit gloves from a little mamas place as I would only use them under the most bitter conditions. I picked the jacket up at the Dong Xuan Market just a few blocks from the tourist quarter. It took a while as the jacket section was actually outside the three storey building running down one side of the road. Ended up bargaining it down from 400,000D to 300,000. I originally thought that Christmas wasn’t a big deal in Vietnam, which it wasn’t, but the Tet holidays is their Christmas/New Year, and it gets just as crazy as back home. People are out like crazy buying shiny decorations, sweets, and new everything. I was happy to get my jacket and run.

I actually picked these up on the Ho Chi Minh trail but they have been such a benefit that I figure that they qualify as a mention. On my travels I have purchased five sets of boots, all water resistent or water proof. Pretty much all of them started out okay but all ended up sponge like. Now that I am riding, in wet weather it is like forced water injection and regular boots don’t stand a chance. Normally it doesn’t make a big difference, but in cold and wet weather conditions, boots won’t dry and nothing is more miserable than having to put on cold, wet, stinky boots and head out into the rain. These rubber boots are 100% water proof and with Sasha somewhat oily, they also prevent the stains on my pants. The best $3.50 investment that I have made.

Nikon P60

Since the old Kodak was basically terminal, both batteries died, it was time to retire the old girl. I had bought that camera off E-bay and it survived almost four years of hard traveling. It had started to be a drag because half the time it wouldn’t work and it was also difficult lugging that over-sized camera around. It got to the point that I was just packing it away and not even attempting to take photos. I figured a good resolution would be to pick up a smaller portable digital. There were a few features that I still wanted. First, I did like the advantage of having a large optical zoom. The Kodak had a 10X and it really made a difference. Second, I prefer to shoot with a view finder as I think I get a better perspective looking through the eye piece. Third, I wanted a little bit of bulk as a lot of my photos are on the go and having something to grab makes things a bit easier. I was also worried that one of the micro thin cameras wouldn’t last a week with my traveling style (I don’t coddle stuff.) In Hue, I found a few cameras but checking on the net they were rated as pretty shit. I am really glad that I waited. In Hanoi I checked out the camera shops in the tourist area and they had a pretty good selection. The P60 was a perfect fit but thankfully my bargaining instincts kicked in and I went off in search of a better deal. Just outside of the tourist area is the Electronics area and I was able to track down some local camera shops. The same camera was $35US cheaper and I also got a free 2gig memory card and case. It turned out to be a pretty sweet deal at $150US. So far the pictures have been pretty good, but have yet to have a non-hazy day to see what quality pics it will perform. So, hopefully I will utilize the new camera and you will get more pictures of interesting stuff.


One response to “Shopping in Hanoi: Merry Christmas to me.”

  1. judy says:

    Hey! You’re just about set to go mushing with me in Alaska!! (Or Minnesota). I have my mukluks now so I’m ready for some cold weather!

    Sure have enjoyed your entertaining writings and great pictures as of late, as usual. Take care of Sasha and be safe and Happy Tet Holidays! Will be looking forward to hearing more from you. Cheers! judy

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