Friday, October 21, 2005

Halong Bay

It was a long drive back from Halong Bay. David was parched after a long day of sailing, and asked our bus driver to pull over near what looked to be a restaurant so he could buy a few beers. Well, it wasn't a restaurant, it was an eel salesman's store. No worry, the eel seller lived right next door, and he sold a two plastic bags of iced Heineken and other beers to David, who brought them back to the bus, handing them out to anyone who wanted one. When we arrived back in Hanoi, he gave the remaining beers to the bus driver, who was most happy to accept. Good show, David.

Saturday 930 am local time

This is the beginning of my last day, Saturday, in Hanoi. I have to change hotels for the last night, which is a pain. The new hotel is near the train station so I will try to take a look at their " Reunification Express " train.


Yesterday, we had a 7am meetup for the outing to Halong Bay. It is way up north, pretty close to China. It is a large bay with many rocky islands, which as you can see, are gorgeous. This bay was featured in the movie " Indochine " with Catherine Deneuve. It is one of the most famous natural sites in the country.

Many of us jumped off the boat for a swim in the bay.

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Halong Bay. Rob from New Zealand lifts a cold one.

Hey, all this sailing is making me thirsty. At 10,000 dong ( 63 US cents ) a can, it would be a crime not to drink another one.


The only downside of this trip was a long 3 hours each way bus trip on Vietnam's kamikaze highways.

On the way back, David from Queensland decided that he was parched, needed some beers, and asked the bus to stop. He went into what looked like a restaurant, but was actually a fish store, one that specialized in selling eels. Told the guy there what he was looking for, and the Vietnamese gent invited him into his house, which was immediately adjacent. He had some beers in the fridge, and sold them to David at a good price. David came in with a couple of plastic bags of Heinekens and others for the gang, a most excellent gesture.

Last night, we had our last group meal, dinner at a place called Le Tonkin. We had a mixed bag of good Vietnamese food in an outdoor garden. There were two musicians playing stringed Vietnamese instruments.

Then, the group broke up. It has been a great trip for all, made better still by the fact that everyone got along so well, and that Eloise ( El ) was the best tour leader ever. Made a very tough job look easy.

Some of us have flown out already, I am solo today, and will be prowling around the streets of Hanoi the rest of today. Then tomorrow, a 940am taxi to the airport for the short 22 hour flight home!


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