On our 3.5 hour bus trip back to Hanoi after our Halong bay adventure. It has been spectacular in every way except for the haze. We were hoping that we would have beautiful blue skies but that doesn't seem to happen in Vietnam with all the smog. We are very happy with our driver as he doesn't take the risks every other fool does on the road. Still we prefer not to watch. It is 150 k's back but you don't go anywhere fast by road here.
We left the port at Halong yesterday in what can only be described as an armada. The junk was beautiful and we got to know the other 12 passengers well. We stopped at Ti Top island for a swim and a relax on the beach. Then on to our protected cove where we dropped anchor for the night. Old ladies in rowing boats then paddled up to the junk to try and sell an assortment of wares. Jac caved for some chocolate and chips. Very hard way to make a living. We spent the night chatting and enjoying the full moon from on the deck. There were about 20 other junks drifting in the same cove but still plenty of room. Their lights and the scenery made an image of ports back in the 15th or 16th century no doubt where pirates and buccaneers would put in to harbor. Except with the soft hum of generators.
Nothing like waking in the morning on a boat with these views. After a shower we were up for brekky and then off for more cruising. Stopped for a tour of surprising cave. Wasn't very surprising though. Nothing like the beauty of our caves back home. Then stopped for a swim and both jumped in from the top deck of the boat. Didn't seem so high until stepping off that ledge. The kids had us all egging them on as they plucked up the courage to jump. Full credit to them. The water was refreshing but seems soo much saltier than back home. Don't even really need to swim as you just float so easily. We settled our tab of drinks on the boat. Lots of beer, soft drink and water. Came to $6. Why couldn't everything be so cheap back home? After leaving our boat we went to a hotel for lunch then back on the bus.
We get back about 5.30pm then get taken to the station for our night train trip in a cabin to Sapa in the mountains.
Last night on a boat, tonight on the train and tomorrow night in the mountains. Life is hard.