MEKONG BLOG 02
Thursday March 7, 2019
Yesterday morning, once we were properly up/dressed/fed/watered, we said “Tam biet!” (goodbye) to Hanoi and drove for four hours through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta … past scenes of rice fields, rural towns and everyday Vietnamese village life … arriving in the bayside resort town of Bai Chay: gateway to beautiful Halong Bay. There, we boarded a look-alike Chinese junk and motored away for an overnight Bhaya Classic Cruise through this astonishing coastal seascape, dotted with thousands of pointy, lumpy islands (mostly uninhabited) and recognised as one of the New World’s Seven Natural Wonders.
We made ourselves at home in our comfy cabins … partook of a fresh-cooked lunch … snapped endless pix of passing islets and other junks-cum-cruise-boats, large and small, that were plying these astonishing waterways … grabbed a relaxing massage in an open-air ‘spa’ on the back deck (well, I can’t speak for the others, but I sure grabbed one!) … and enjoyed a hilarious demo of traditional Hanoi cooking.
Then, after ‘Happy Hour’, a sumptuous seafood dinner and a bit of amateur (unsuccessful) squid-fishing, we retired to our beds for the night.
Aaaah yes – magic!
This morning, bright and early, we wakey-wakeyed to some brisk tai-chi that was happening on the top deck – then up-anchored and continued cruising – going ashore on Sung Sot Island to explore some colourful limestone caves, before downing a fresh’n’healthy buffet brunch and sailing back to Halong City.
Our return-coach-trip to Hanoi was broken with two stops: the first at a pearl farm/factory/showroom where we saw how they (the oysters) do it … the second at a huge art’n’crafts workshop where many of the young people exhibiting their skills (at silk-weaving, for example) were victims of the war: landmines, Agent Orange, and worse.
It’s these kind of experiences that we’ve come here for. And, so far, Vietnam has not disappointed us …
COMING UP: We fly south on the morrow to Danang and get taxied to the charming old riverside town of Hoi An. So don’t hang up just yet …
PEOPLE-NEWS: Our internationally-renowned Quacky Yellow Ducks are once again being awarded to Kiwis in our group who do silly, embarrassing, award-worthy things …
- CATHERINE & GRANT shared our ‘Very Early Earlybird Award’ – for getting their wires crossed before they’d even left NZ, and almost, very nearly, going out to the airport, bags and passports in hand, the day before we were due to depart.
- HEATHER earned herself our ‘Breaking & Entering Award’ – by standing in the hotel corridor on our first night in Hanoi, trying desperately to open the door with her plastic key-card (wait for it …) of the room next door to hers!
Yours bloggedly – JOHN P.S. If you want to receive future Mad Midlife Travel Blogs in your INBOX, just sign-up (top-right) for your free Email Subscription! And if you’d like to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on the little speech bubble at the top of this entry, and add your comments! (Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief.) fffffff