Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Vietnam Trip Post 2 - The Train Ride And Halong Bay

me with coconut Halong Bay
The below post is what I wrote on my iPhone while on a very long train ride.....sorry it keeps jumping back and forth.


Its 12:30 i am wide awake and Not quite sure how i have ended up on train from Hanoi to Hue, maybe it sounds like a good idea when your booking your ticket, but after 6 hours huuummm maybe not. Especially when a few minutes after you board a mouse comes out from under your bed. Planes are so good! I have been savorying the culinary delights of oreos, jelly beans, ritz crackers and Bia Ha Noi beer for the last few hours as well as reading a Cosmo cover to cover while listening to Louis Armstrong, only 8 more hours to go. All my food is now securely sealed in my scuba mask container so the mouse dose not eat it. One good point, we were stoked when we arrived at our cabin, we were sharing with 2 really nice girls, I was sure we would be put with some smelly travelers you know the ones (that go native when traveling in Asia).

Anyways for the last 2 days we've been in Halong Bay, it was beautiful except the horrible karoke which I am ashamed to say that I took part in (English songs, background music was all played on organ, with veitnamese couple frolicking around in the video in the back ground....weird) i almost jumped ship and swam to the boat with the duff duff music near by, when everyone except me retired to their cabins by 10:30. Well ok there were only 2 other groups on our boat a family of 4 and an older couple, not really a party crowd. Not sure of erins excuse :) The party boat looked pretty good!

Back to the train the cockroaches are out now! Yuck.... It's now very dead, I skewered with my fork! yuck not using it again.
junks in Halong Bay

We booked our Halong bay cruise with Kangaroo Cafe a few days before trip. We met at cafe at 8am where we boarded a mini bus and drove for 4 hours to Halong bay port, with 1 minor pee break stop at a horrid tourist trap 20 minutes to long of shopping, but I guess the bathrooms were good. When we arrived to the port we boarded a boat to take us to the main boat. Oh and all the junks are white now, government orders looks kinda shit, let's paint over nice wooden boats with shitty white paint jobs good plan!

7 1/2hours to go now...

Ok so after got to boat, got our rooms, and were served lunch as we cruised out to halong bay. Steamed prawns-with salt and pepper and lime, deep fried tofu with soya sauce, cucumbers in vinegar, fried chicken, fried fish with dill, stir fried squid-good but a little rubbery, cabbage-never a fan, steamed rice. The lunch was alreight, it catered more to the average traveler I think, no fresh herbs ect which usually accompanies Vietnamese food, I asked for fresh chili to add to my food for some much needed spice. Next we rented some very worn kayaks 100,000 per person-2 seater. Tim our tour guide took us for a paddle around the floating village and then a 30 minute paddle across the bay to a opening/cave, which we paddle through to reach an inclosed bay. We paddled back to return the kayaks and our San pan(boat) brought us to a little island where we walked straight up about 430 steps to the top where there was an amazing view of the the surrounding bay. Walked back down and had a quick dip.
fish with dill and tomato 

Then back to the boat for a drink then dinner of deep fried spring rolls-very good, French fries-hummmm, crumbed pork, steamed prawns in bouquet of carved veg flowers, stir fried beef, kolrabi, steamed rice (good but bit boring)! Had a few beers on the top deck, then the dreaded karoke../comtemplating swimming to another boat for drinks... Ended up sitting up on deck then bed.

Woke up 6am but it was to overcast to see sunrise, gazed out window for awhile. Breakfast 7:30-eggs, banana, yogurt, cake, sweet bread, coffeeeeeee.....

Next took the boat to the stairs, to go up to the amazing cave. Absolutely huge, very cool Tim gave us all history on cave as well as pointing out all sorts of rocks that looked like things! Buddha stalactite, elephants stalagmite, penis stalagmite. Then back to the boat, fresh coconut on the way. Packed up our rooms/checked out of rooms, paid for beer. Then slowly cruised back to port. Lunch was at a empty hotel across the road: seafood spring rolls, chicken with mushrooms- to much cornstarch, fish in tomato sauce (very boring), more cabbage-no one ate, stir fried beef, steamed rice Bia Ha Noi beer. 4 hour drive back to Hanoi, With 1 more tourist pee shop stop. Then we grabbed some snacks and a bowl of noodles and took a taxi to the train, and that's where this story began.

I still cant sleep 6 more hours i am frinkin hot!

Ok so I actually fell asleep for about an hour, and luckily did not wake up with a mouse on my head, I had visions of this happening the little mouse flying through the air once I flung it off me... Looked at cosmo for another hour...train stopped at a station went outside did some jumping jacks (people looked at me a bit strangely). Had some snacks for breakfast. Chatted with the girls for a few more hours then arrived in Hue.

Train berth in the morning, about to arrive!

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