Halong is stunning. Cat Ba was beautiful. But I don't even know how to describe it. Lindsey does a lovely job. You should go check that out. When I do my post for our boat trip into the bay, I'll try to write something worth reading.
As for the motorbike tour, we just spent the day exploring every piece of paved road there is on Cat Ba island. That only takes a few hours, but it escorted us through some incredible scenery. More than half of the island is a national park
. The same peaks that jut out of the water in Halong Bay dot the island as well. They're an incredible combination of exposed limestone and lush greenery. Even on a cloudy day, the colors and contrasts are dramatic. We also made our way to several bays in the area and watched local wicker fishing boats skim across the placid waters. When shadows stole the colors in the water and on the peaks, we just enjoyed the lines of the island. You know, the lines? Let me explain. You know how you look at a photograph and say, "Wow, that blue water is amazing." Or, "Look at how green those mountains are!" That's nice. But think of your favorite black and white photograph, preferably a landscape shot. Ansel Adams maybe. It's dramatic despite the lack of color. Why? Because it has nice lines. That's what the island was, even when there was no sun to bounce the colors into our eyes, it was visually stunning. The island is a castle of perfect lines, stacked in rows, level after level, in every direction, on into the infinite horizon.
What do you know? I guess I did have something to say.
Well, since I don't feel like being descriptive, I'll just ramble about random Vietnam stuff. I haven't yet talked about the animals they eat. I know that's one of the things people always mention: "They eat dogs over there!" Well, yeah, they do
. They eat cats too. There's no Humane Society here, no need for adoption. But don't cringe. I know for most Americans our immediate response is one of disgust. But that's just ethnocentrism rearing its ugly head (my Antrho degree taught me one word). The fact is that our distinctions between pets and food are arbitrary. You think Vietnamese are weird for eating dogs, but Indians think it worse than odd that you eat cows. And why not eat dogs? Where exactly is that line? Ducks, frogs, goats, sheep, chickens, snakes, beetles, the beloved water buffalo. They're all edible. Someone somewhere eats all of them. But only some of them are on American menus. I think most people would say it's because dogs and cats are so smart. Or so sweet. So something. But there is nothing that clearly makes them pets instead of dinner. Would I eat dog? I'm sure I have. Probably cat and rat too. We used to eat peso tacos in Juarez. That can't be Grade A beef. I had noodles with beef here for 50 cents. There was way too much meat on the plate for me to believe I was eating a cow. But it was fine. Put enough ginger on anything and I'll eat it. So yes, the rumors are true. They eat Fluffy and Fido here. And if they threw a little Shake 'N Bake on it, maybe some butter and garlic, I'm sure you'd eat it too.
I've been trying to write some articles for publication, so by the time I get around to writing my travel pod blog, I just don't feel like writing anymore. I've thrown up lots of photos though. We are currently in Hue and we have internet in our hotel room. $11 can set you up pretty nicely.