Trip Start Aug 01, 2005
51Trip End Feb 16, 2006
Next morning we were picked up by a bus and it started out by a long pro-Vietnam speech about how amazing everything is here and how they have 2 of the greatest heroes in the world (Ho Chi Minh of course). The propaganda finally over we stopped inHalong City where we were boarding our boat. It was a pretty nice wooden boat with an upper deck to lounge and some nice cabins with their own bathroom. There were a hundred similar boats taking off at the same time. Quite a popular thing to do.
We were about 15 on the boat together with some Germans, a Swiss and a French couple, and a Dutch girl
Next morning they got us up too early. After a pretty miserable breakfast we went to a larger island where bikes were waiting for us. Unfortunately they didn't have a single tool so Guido and I had to ride with our saddles so low we could hardly pedal. But it was not a very hard ride anyway, so the guys had to make it a bit more challenging with funny stunts and crash landings. After a little break we took off to climb a steep hill that was used during the war as a warning post for planes. We were lucky to have a clear view from the top of the stunning landscape. We took some funny pictures climbing on a tree and the guide kept on shaking his head and saying monkey. Too much fun for him. After a lunch we biked back to the boat and went to a place where we could go kayaking. Paul and Seth were too lazy to go so Guido and I jumped into a kayak and paddled around for a while
Afterwards the boat took us to a little town where we left the boat and went to a hotel to spend our second night. The town was almost empty but tjhey were building it up as if they were expecting a million tourists in the next month. After a good dinner and some local honeywine, we decided to find a place to go dancing. Some of our group came too and soon we were in a huge, almost empty disco. The music at first was pretty lame so only me and the Dutch girl were doing some crazy choreographies on the dancefloor. After the compulsory karaoke moment (man do they take themselves seriously), people actually started dancing. It seems that only Vietnamese men are allowed to dance, but with the tight and sexy clothes they wear and the hip movements they do, it is sometimes difficult to tell for sure if they are guys or not. We had a lot of fun dancing all together and with the Vietnames guys. Some of them were actually pretty good and gave us a hip hop demo.
Next morning we were on strike about getting up so early for nothing and showed up late for breakfast. Then we took off to the boat again and started on the way back to Halong Bay City. We arrived there around non, drove to a restaurant and had lunch. Then we had the drive back to Hanoi with the usual stop at the guide's friend's souvenir shop. They were selling some weird black sweet sticky rice stuff wrapped in banana leaves. We tried it and it was actually pretty good.
That night in Hanoi we met up with Cyrille and went out dancing, but that's in the previous episode.