After ANOTHER overnight train, we arrived in Hanoi very early.I had a nap then went for a walking city tour.Hanoi has a lake in the middle of town which we walked around.As it was St Patrick's Day, two Irish girls Fiona and Aoife, wanted to celebrate in style so we all went to an Irish bar called Finnegan's.We got there at 3.30pm and I left 12 hours later, oops.I knew we would be there for a while so I opted for the best dink deal; a green Finnegan's t-shirt and all the beer I could drink, all for $30.It turns out that I could drink 8 pints, who knew?We got so involved that we had Irish tattoos put on our face.And even green, white and orange feather boas that Jo and Kerry made.
The next day I felt pretty drunk still.Woke up at 8am in a mess, I somehow managed to pack my bag in 2 minutes, but I left my jeans.I was still so drunk that I didn't realize till I was on the bus that I barely remembered getting up and leaving the hotel!The four hour bus journey gave me time to recover and sober up before we got to the port and got on the boat to Cat Ba Island.The boat was lovely; it had a terrace on top that would have bee great for sunbathing, except that it was cloudy.On the way to the island we stopped at some caves.We had to walk up a million steps to get to them.
Wednesday - In the morning some of us went kayaking to Monkey Island.Big mistake!I am not doing it again.I think it may just be that me and Nat were not coordinated enough; but we just couldn't go in a straight line.In the end we had to be attached to the guide kayak so it could make us go in a straight line.I did kind of enjoy it in a humorous kind of way and the scenery of Halong Bay was beautiful.There really were monkeys on the island.We were told to keep our distance because they could be mischievous.After the painful journey back to Cat Ba, we got the oublic boat back to Hai Phong.When we got back to Hanoi about 6 hours later we had to swap hotels as this was our last day of the Vietnam part of our trip.The new hotel was loads nicer than the last and more central.I managed to get my forgotten jeans back from the hotel, although I think they had fished them out of the bin because they smelt disgusting.
For our 'last supper' with Huy we went to the Cylo Bar where you sit in old cyclos to eat to your meal. Afterwards, me, Nat, Cat , Yvonne and Huy went to a couple of bars to say our farewells over a few drinks.
Thursday - During the day we went to visit some of the sites of Hanoi like the Joi Chi Minh Mausoleum. We actually saw him in his little glass case, all dead and looking like he was just sleeping, it was a bit creepy. Later we went to the Temple of Literature. In the evening some of us went to the local water puppet show. It was great except for the French woman in front who kept sticking her head right in front of my head to block my view.
That night we met our new guide for Laos, Nan.