We landed in
Hanoi three days ago at around midday, so spent that day checking out the city. It's a really nice place, with French style architecture and has a very European feel. The roads are really busy though, with millions of motorbikes and scooters zooming down the roads, it's pretty difficult to get across the roads without encountering a close brush with death. The main feature of Hanoi is a large lake which is rather pretty. We had a wander round and in the evening had an amazing meal at this cool restaurant where the chairs are these cyclo things, then went to a water puppet show which was very colourful, although was all in Vietnamese so any meaning was lost on us!! There were cool puppets including tigers, dragons breathing fire, well sparks and snakes whizzing around the water which freaked Nick out!!! Afterwards we went to this cool Jazz bar and I had a cocktail!!
The next day we had booked a three day trip to Halong
Bay. So we set off at around 8am to meet our group. Unfortunately our group was a Vietnamese family of eight and four Japs. So Nick and I felt pretty
excluded, as obviously we didn't speak the language and didn't want to invade a family trip. The first day the weather was perfect and we drove to Halong Bay, then took a boat out to some caves. Had a look round the caves and chilled on the boat for lunch. After lunch, I decided to find the toilet. Oh dear. Nick said it was down the stairs. So I ventured down one set....couldn't see much...so decided to go down a second set which lead to a dark corridor (probably a sign things weren't right). Anyway I started walking down this corridor when suddenely I felt my feets disappear into this hole!!! Some bastard had left a trapdoor open!!! One of my feet landed on a ledge, but the other was dangling. I managed to pull myself out. I screamed but there was no knight in shining armour to rescue me, hmph. Luckily I got out alive, but my leg was in pain and I pulled up my trouser leg to have a look at it and it was covered in blood. Basically I don;t knwo how exactly it happened, but I have a huge scrape down my leg and quite
a deep wound which bled for quite some time. We had a few plasters and anti-septic cream with us (thanks Uncle Wilson!!!) and put some tissue under one of the plasters to soak up some of the blood. Ten minutes after my incident it was time to start kayaking. I decided to go but not to any paddling (I needed time to recover!!!) so i just lay back and let Nick do the hard stuff! The kayaking lasted around an hour.
That evening was spent sleeping on the boat. It was quite amusing because the Vietnamese who had previously appared timid and barely spoke a word, suddenely came alive when karaoke was part of the evenings festivities!! They took it really, really seriously though. It was nothing like when we drunkenly stagger up and slur some words. They sang perfectly in tune, swayed to the music, fists punched the air at the dramatic parts....Nick and I had to leave because we would offend them by laughing. There was a cute kitten on board that we cuddled for a bit!!!
The next day was an early start and we went to Cat Ba island. It took a while to
get there, and when we arrived we were all supposed to go on a walk into the national park. However, none of the rest could be arsed (lazy bastards) so it was just me, Nick and a mental guide. When I say mental I mean mental, we were actually worried that he was unhinged. He was really sweet though and even though he didn't speak a word of English except "monkey" which he kept repeating and pointing around (even though there were no monkeys to be seen, in fact the only monkey was him), he was a really good guide- he'd pick berries off trees and bushes and let us try them (I did get suspicious when he start laughing after I ate some leaf thing though), so we walked up a very steep slope to get a good view. He really was a strange man, he'd walk on all fours at times, make animal noises, suddenely start running, dancing, climbing up trees. There was one point where he was swinging on this rope like branch thing. He gestured for me to have a go...of course it would be rude not to so on I hopped.....and down the branch sank.
I clearly weighed a lot more than this tiny skinny man. I hoped he hadn't noticed but he pointed and doubled over with laughter. He was really sweet and after the walk he took us back to his house and we met his mother and he gave us some biscuits!!! Aww.
Today we got back to Hanoi at around 4pm and have just had a nice meal. We are off to
Sapa tomorrow evening!!! Speak soon!!!
Source: Travel Blogs