The Hanoi ‘Hilton’, John McCain, and I-Box

May 27, 2008

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I woke up at 5:15 this morning. I went up to the top deck, but the sun was already up! The sky was still pretty cool though. It was nice to have some morning quiet, since I haven’t been able to find that in Hanoi. After breakfast, the boat headed back to the docks. We were back in Hanoi by lunchtime. After lunch at a local cafe, I checked out the Prisoner’s Museum with Sach. It’s nickname is the Hanoi “Hilton.” They even have a picture of John McCain as a POW from the Vietnam War. My guidebook said that he tried to commit suicide several times while being at the Hanoi Hilton, but there’s not much media publicity on that back home. Although that would be a touchy subject, “oh yeah, well I hear you tried to off yourself as a POW!” Anyway, after touring the jail, we walked to I-Box, a really chill bar that Tracey recommended, over by Hoen Kiem Lake (not the lake that John McCain was captured out of). It’s so different than everything I’ve seen so far in Hanoi. I-Box is full of the Vietnamese yuppy class, that you don’t see out on the streets. So it was a cool experience. We ordered cocktails and chatted until more of our group showed up. It was really funny being there before, during, and after happy hour. After five hours at iBox we had dinner and then headed to the train station. We’re overnighting to Hue. This is my third overnight train experience in Asia. Apparently, I started at the bottom, because the Vietnamese trains are even nice than the Thai trains! We had our own compartment, with only two bunks to a room.