Monday, October 1, 2007

Halong Bay

We leave Hanoi first thing Sunday morning heading over to Halong Bay where we are going to spend one night on a tourist junk. It’s about a three hour drive from Hanoi, and we are the last tourists picked up, so we are crammed in the back of the van which makes for a longer ride. When we finally pull into the port and get off the van we are just overwhelmed by the amount of tourists, thousands of people waiting to board the hundreds of boats in the harbor. We just look at each other and I’m sure that Tina is thinking the same thing as me - yeah our luck has run out, we’ll end up with tons of pictures with all these boats and other tourists, damn. Well, then we got even more news, our names we not on any list they had and they just kept asking everyone “What boat? What is the name of the boat you are on?” Well, we and one other girl had no idea, and nowhere on our paperwork is there any information, so they shuffle us back to the van to what appears to be an incredibly unhappy driver.

He drives us down to another spot with a small pier, drops our stuff off and drives away. Ah, this is the overnight location, much better. Nobody around, we end up on a tour with only 4 other groups, a total of 10 people. Very nice, and when they head out into the bay they take us further out where we can get beautiful photos of just the rock outcroppings and hardly any other tourists boats. Yep, the world still loves us.

It’s a little too hazy to get the postcard photos we dreamed about, but still absolutely stunning. Touring around, the little islands, the small floating fishing villages, the kids that paddle up trying to sell shells, everything is perfect. Crab for dinner, we take a bottle of wine and hike up one of the islands to watch the sunset, and finish the evening talking to the other guests about all of their travels through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

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