[NOTE: When we traveled to Vietnam in 2009, I used Posterous for a lot of the photo hosting for this blog, because it as an easy way email photos from my phone.
With the subsequent death of Posterous, now most of my Vietnam travel posts have broken image links... I have the photos still, but it will take some time to recreate the visual narratives... Apologies for broken links below.]
We are settled in our hotel in Hanoi -- like we did in Hoi An (the place with the nice balcony and peaceful central courtyard), we're staying in a little bit upmarket place here. In Saigon and Hue, we were in backpackers' hotels, on the high end of budget at around $15-20/night for a very basic though modern room -- ac/hot water/wifi when it worked, TV with cable, free hot breakfast. Basic, but also scrupulously clean with very attentive service. Here, nicer linens, bigger room, an elevator instead of walkup. Still only $38/night for the "city view" side of the tall skinny building.
We popped up to the top (7th) floor to check out the views ended up preferring the city view side because we have we're at treetop level and have a wonderful tree outside our balcony, and the street life is more fun to look at than rooftops. Besides that the lake view side turned out to be just as loud, and on the lower floors, we would have barely been able to see the lake anyway...
Construction/demolition/rebuilding/remodelling seems to be a constant ongoing process in every city we've visited.