Halong Bay and the wine tax!!!

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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On a Boat

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, June 21, 2010

We woke at 6.45 and headed down for another free breako of eggs on french bread with chilli sauce and some noodles. The bus arrived to collect us and take us to Halong Bay to go for a cruise around the Archipelago. After about a 3 hour bus ride we arrived in Ha Long City and waited while the tour guide got some tickets. We got chatting to a barmy, barmy woman in her late 50's with an Eastern European accent but she said she was from Australia. When we asked if she was travelling alone she replied "People always ask me if I’m travelling alone and I respond f*ck off you are spoiling my fun". The guide left and other people in our party followed. I politely suggested to the lady that I would follow the group at a distance so we didn’t lose them and across the rest of the crowd waiting at the ferry port she shouted “If you piss off and leave me I will catch up with you and pull your trousers down in public”, all very Grandma Blacksheep’esk. Well you couldn’t help but start to like the 'crazy lady'.

We boarded a transport vessel and headed off to a lovely boat moored out in the bay. We boarded and couldn’t believe how nice it was. The 'crazy lady’ had managed to spill water all over her bag on the way there and we soon started cruising around the Islands. It was beautiful but also there were quite a lot of boats making the trip. We soon got chatting to an Aussie couple called Sonia and Col and as they had already started on the beer we soon fell into easy conversation.

We next went and visited a huge cave which was actually great, having now done lots of caves we were initially not that keen on the idea. Erica spent most of the time chatting to the ‘crazy lady’ who when the guide said “look an elephant” she would respond with “That is rubbish but look at the pair of boobs there” or “Look all I can see is a giant penis”, much to our amusement. Erica’s conversation then turned even more bizarre, the lady confirmed that when she slept she actually rose out of own body and would float all over markets in Bosnia (where she originally came from) no-one could see her but dogs would always bark at her. Don’t think this was a dream, no not at all, this is an out of body experience! Well I just thought the woman was quite frankly bonkers, however as it turns out she is actually a doctor, and a very, very intelligent doctor at that. We went on to discuss parallel universes, why she is more interested in reincarnation than marriage and a whole host of other subjects. Another highlight of our conversations with her was when she told us about how rampant her son is in bed, on her last holiday with him, he broke the sink and toilet off the wall and flooded the hotel as he was having sex with someone else’s daughter in the hotel (her language was a little more vivid than this).

We then went kayaking around some of the islands (yes Vic and James, Erica got in a Kayak all be it a tandem). Oddly she said she wanted to be at the back but after the experience of a tandem bicycle when she didn’t peddle there was no chance of me falling for that one. Col and Sonia offered to keep hold of all our stuff as they had found a bar selling cold beer on the floating village where we boarded the kayaks . When we got back to the big boat the local women had rowed over selling cheaper and colder booze. Everyone seemed to be partaking however the most budget conscious people on the boat, we negotiated a bottle of vodka as the boat was charging almost 2 pounds for a small can of beer. We therefore settled in to a bit of a session with Col and Sonia. At dinner an announcement was made to say that anyone who bought beer or wine from the local women would be charged a service charge by the boat staff (weirdly it was all directed at Erica face on, despite a lot of others buying. This made us a little angry as we were still buying coke from the bar at maybe 1 per can and no-one else was buying anything from the bar at all).

Anyway we had a good old banter with the Aussie’s and we polished off the whole bottle of vodka. We also had a right good winge about the proposed service charge.

We went to bed at about 11:15 having to step over all the crew asleep on the floor. Not before of course taking a picture of the rules and regulations of the boat which also failed to mention don’t buy anything off the woman who was allowed by the crew to tie herself on to our boat as you will be charged by the boat crew.
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