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The Beauty and the Beast

Saturday, November 11th, 2006

The morning of my Halong Bay trip, I woke up before my alarm, as I often do when I know I need to wake up for something and am anticipating the alarm. I showered and had some time to watch a little TV before heading down for a quick breakfast of pho, or beef noodle soup, and waited for my pickup. In the lobby were two girls I hadn’t seen before, one having severe difficulty on the painfully slow guesthouse computer. I chatted with the other one, and we both realized we were all booked on the same Halong Bay trip, though I was only on for one night and two days, and they were on for two nights. Another couple came downstairs, and they were also checking out and going on our tour, and were also on the 2 night trip. Realizing this might be a chance to meet some people traveling in the same direction as me, I changed my trip to include the second night and paid the difference.Though we were told to be ready by 8, our pickup didn’t come until almost 9, a seemingly common occurence, as they tell everyone 8, but depending on where you are in the pickup, you might be last and almost an hour later. We grabbed our bags and set off with our guide to the bus parked a block away. Though it was early and we were all a bit tired, we chatted easily and were all clearly ready to get out of the city. [read on]