Hot weather and cheap beer is the perfect storm of procrastination!
But enough is enough! Time to see the sights, enjoy the culture and experience that which is the descending dragon (aka, Halong Bay).
The name comes from a story of the mother dragon. You see the gods sent down a family of dragons to help defend from invaders. As they descended the mother dragon spat out pearls which landed in Halong Bay thus creating the limestone islets. These islets devastated the enemy fleet, winning the war the mother dragon did not want to return to the heavens leaving such beauty like Halong Bay and descided to stay.
All the way travelling north in Vietnam I would hear stories of the famed backpackers booze cruise. There would be lots of nudity, lots of drinking and people running amok. We decided that we actually wanted to see the bay and not have it as a drunken blur so we opted for the more expensive but chilled out version. We booked with the hostel under pressure of time, which was probably not the best descision as we paid alot more than some we spoke with. It pays to shop around a bit, you see there are travel agency shops all throughout Vietnam tourist areas and you can get some really good deals. I guess it's a risk also though of not knowing what your getting.
The morning of the trip I had got perhaps 2 hours sleep due to the evil lure of free beer and a barbie for easter at the hostel. It was a mad rush for the bus that was turning up out front and I had thought I lost my wallet and held up the bus running around franticly. Anyhow it ended up my wallet was in the bag I had brought down at the start...but I did'nt tell anyone, so Shhhh ;p I try to get sleep slinking to a corner.
Now with every tour in Vietnam there is an obligitory stop off at a souvenir shop masked as a toilet break. (Toilets are marked as W.C., I'm not quite sure why) I take this time to play my Mekong bamboo flute for Mallory to ease her hangover Sooo we get to the port and await to go on the boat, now your probably expecting a traditional wood boat with the asian sails n stuff yeah? This is what you get.. It seems that there are two stories of why two months ago it became compulsory to have a white boat. First story is that there were accidents and a white boat helps it be visible in the dark. second is that some head honcho travelled in Greece and saw all the nice white boats and decided that it would be a good look over here to increase the beauty of the bay. Our fellow shipmates consisted of three Australian couples, a Russian family and French family. Ended up being fun with lots of laughs and a little midnight karaoke (scored a 98!), kayaked and swam (even though the water is grosse :/ ) Here are some of the pictures I got, the place was fairly misty which seems to be the norm. The photo's that you see on the postcards with clear sunny days happen maybe 3 days of the year haha
Now you would think you'd be safe from hawkers in an area like this on your own boat....but no, there are these little rowed boats all over selling booze and food They also live on the water on makeshift floating homes
I went and saw Ho Chi Minh the other day, it took about an hour in line which I would say was a kilometre long. They have him embalmbed on display. This is serious business, there was no talking, laughing, your hands straight ..not in pockets, hats off, sunnies off and these guys have guns with bayonetes so you listen. Girls get knocked back for inapropriate attire. Well it was worth it, he is looking pretty good. I was just waiting for him to do the "rarrrr!" movement....didn't happen
So 2 more days left untill 4 days of water fighting in Laos!!
Ive been boasting of gearing up with an improvised arsenal of bamboo weaponry, I should start drawing up plans... so ciao for now!