26 Ninh Binh to Hanoi

Trip Start Apr 21, 2013
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26
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Trip End Aug 28, 2013


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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day 26

May 16 2013

Nihn Binh to Hanoi

To have a lonely planet is almost a must as the advice and recommendations from other travelers can save a lot of grief and time. Nihn Bihn is famous for its limestone Karsts rock formations. Halong Bay on Land it is referred to in various brochures and travel books. So let's have a look at it. About 5 km out of town there is a place where one can get into a rowing boat and be taken along waterways to view the limestone formations. The route takes two hours there and back and passes through three caves.

The rowers can be either and older woman or any age man. Like the Chinese the Vietnamese row forwards in the direction in which they  are going and alternatively row with their hand or feet.

Amazing countryside, I even spotted some wild mountain goats on top of the rocks. It was dead quiet except for the water moving along the boat. Nearly all other boats had people in them holding umbrellas to shade them from the harsh sun.

We passed three caves and came to the end of the waterway were my rower just floated the boat for a while.  While there, woman approached in their own boats trying to sell their merchandise. Unfortunately they don’t take no for an answer  and keep the pressure on. I don’t need postcards and other trinkets so No is No. It is a pity that this spoils it a bit. After returning the man rowing my boat demanded a tip. I did not mind giving him a tip at all and was ready to do so. But when he said: "You give me tip!" I thought sorry mate not like this. When I got out he followed me for about ten meters.

I turned around and shook his hand and said: Ok I give you a tip: Be nice to your mother! And left it at that.

Even though it was another very hot day of 38 degrees the (mainly) Vietnamese women  cover themselves completely.  The two pictures show the contrast,  The European woman exposes her skin to get some color which she regards as a “cool” thing to have. The Vietnamese women cover themselves completely and hide from the sun to stay as light coloured as possible, Why is this so?

Educated women work in offices and regard themselves as pretty smart and I guess and perhaps, aloof. Poor women work on the land and are exposed to the weather and sun so they have darker skin then the office women. This is the reason that they cover themselves, staying light coloured is their way of being “cool” and they cant be mistaken for a poorer country worker They wear special face masks exposing only their eyes and wear jackets or shirts with extended sleeves  with a kind of flap at the and that curl over their fingers.

The men don’t goes for this all that much but still wear long sleeve shirts while riding their scooter

My GPS showed me some alternative roads today. I had programmed it for bicycles this morning because I did not want to end up being lead to a motorway where motorcycles were not allowed  like in Saigon.

The result that it took me places I would never have found myself. Rural areas with small villages. I was surprised that at times the road turned into a narrow gravel track which still showed on the GPS.

I past a sign showing Ha Noi and realized I had completed the 1950 km to get there. Luckily still in one piece. Incidentally I had not seen even one crash the whole way other than one truck lying on its side.

Within minutes I was in the midst of all again. Curb to curb traffic and that at 38 degrees. I reached Hoan Kiem Lake and instantly knew where I was and found my way to the large cathedral adjacent to  the hostel area.
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Comments

JEROME BOISARD on

Great pictures...
Wish to visit this great place one day.
This is what life is all about, discovering our world and sharing with peoples.
Keep on riding and don't forget to make a stop at our place one of theses days.
Hope to meet you soon, keep safe.

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