Trip Start Oct 10, 2008
16Trip End Oct 27, 2008
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Where I stayed
Huong Hai Junk
We were picked up for a 3 hour van ride out to Ha Long Bay. The drive went through more beautiful, but flat rice paddie countryside. The others on the van were all sent to different boats. It was mass confusion with what looked like 50 junks anchored or moving around the harbor to the small dock.
We ended up on a boat with 4 golfing Aussies, another Aussie couple, a Brit who had recently moved to Hong Kong accompanied by his 2 adopted Chinese daughters (his wife had to work), a New Zealand couple. All the adults were mid-50s and up. We were off the dock and having an 8 course lunch as we motored into a sea of limestone karsk that jutted everywhere.
The people on the boat were terrific and we did a bit of swimming (needed after a rather sweaty trip) and some kayaking through a cave into a lovely little lagoon. None of the rocky islands have beaches...the rock just seem to push vertically into the air out of the sea...well, except one that we're pretty sure had the sand trucked in to make a beach for the tourists. There were tons of toursit boats and lots of fish farms, pearl farms, very small fishing boats and ladies paddling what I liked to call "7-11 boats" as they supplied all the junk food and soda you could want, along with cigarettes and conical hats.
After an 8 course dinner that was the same ingredients in a slightly different order with slightly different preparation (a theme that would recurr for each meal other than breakfast) we hung out in the pleasant breeze and chatted.