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July 03, 2004

Halong Bay

Halong Bay, 200km east of Hanoi, is surrounded by tree-covered karsts and filled with green sea water. I stayed on a boat for two days as it motored around the islands, stopping at a spectacular cave and dropping anchor to swim (I summoned all my courage and jumped off the three storey boat into the water) and stop for the night. I had a room which was right next to the engine and as well as the noise and heat, I was ill again, so I didn't have the greatest night. At 6.30 in the morning, some of the crew went for a swim and others joined them. I wasn't feeling so good, but it was so hot and the water was cool and inviting!

It was good to get into the air-conditioned bus back to Hanoi, but we stopped to help a broken down bus by the side of the road and our van got stuck in reverse. You could tell because vehicles here play a jaunty tune when they go backwards (in this case, it was a festive medley of Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas). After lots of shouting and tinkering with the engine, it was decided to call a mechanic. We passengers piled off and walked to a nearby roadside cafe as the van had become something of a tourist attraction for the local fly population. We bought ice lollies and drinks and I reckon the owner thought his ship had come in with all the unexpected custom. We got back to Hanoi eventually and I had a scary moto ride to catch the overnight bus to Hue.

Posted by Rowena on July 3, 2004 08:30 AM
Category: Vietnam
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