I'M IN LAOS!
Here we our after our EPIC journey from Vietnam. My lovely sister has informed me I use brackets too often in my blogs... so I'm going cold turkey and using NONE in this one! quite a challenge for me actually. I'll try to get up-to-date with what we've been up to since last time. Are you sitting comfortably? Then let's begin...
HUE - We stopped here for one night on our way northwards in Vietnam. Nothing much to shout about to be honest. We tried and failed to find the mysterious citadel, perhaps we were looking in the wrong place... but the heat was pretty intense in Hue so we settled for drinking beer in a bar and eating some delicious sausages-on-a-stick from a local stall. The next day we grabbed a nightbus up to to capital; Hanoi.
HANOI - Just when you think things can't get any crazier, you arrive in Hanoi. It's busy, cramped, crowded and noisy, but it has a certain something about it that you just can't help liking. We ended up in this tiny little hotel, which was the cheapest we could find. The Dong were running pretty low by this stage. It was down what we liked to call Eel Alley... named because when we arrived at 6am the street was lined with people selling buckets of live eels, live fish, live FROGS! pretty much anything really... That first day we booked our trip to Halong Bay and explored around the Old Quarter. There is a big lake that all the Vietnamese people go and do there morning/afternoon exercises around, so we had some great people-watching time. The lake is famous because apparently there are giant turtles in there... and something about one particular turtle stealing a sword off the king... hmm; me and Nai were skeptical of this one! The next day were were off on our trip to Halong Bay to spend the night on a boat!
HALONG BAY - is a UNESCO world hertitage sites. It's made up of nearly 2000 jungle covered limestone islands that rise out of the bay to the north-east of Vietnam. We got a bus to Halong harbour and boarded our old-fashioned stlye junk! We were very excited to say the least, and as we cruised towards the 'Surprise Cave' we were blown away by how beautiful the scenery is. We got all the food included in our trip, which was a little more expensive then some others, but we really didn't want to end up on one of the karoke-cruises, beacuse that is quite frankly, my worst nightmare. So we did get to try lots of different seafood and stuff. Nai was very braved when the squid came out! The cave trip was cool, it is MASSIVE and our guide Dien; pronounced Zien, was really knowledable. Next we went Kayaking! beacuse the rest our our group were going to Catba Island it was just the two of us in a double Kayak and Dien in a single one. Turns out I'm not very good at steering kayaks either... me and nai nearly came to blows! hahah only joking, it was a funny episode. We got to go under this tiny archway in the rock into a lagoon in the middle of the island, completely surrounded by cliffs covered in forest. It was breathtakingly beautiful and so quiet. aprat from the ciccadas, who are really noisy! Later we jumped off the top of the boat to swim. Nai was good at this, me not so much... it's really high and scary!!! hahah! The evening we spent fishing for squid off the back of the boat and chatting to a really nice british and australian couple. No squid were caught! There was a beautiful sunset too. We went to bed in our little cabin very happy. Attempted and failed to get up for sunrise... and then it was a cruise back to the mainland at a nice leisurely pace enjoying the spectacular view. I got sunburnt on this day; it would seem suncream bought in Cambodia is NOT reliable, even if it says factor 50!
We returned to Hanoi for one night, changed hotels to a slightly less damp room - still in Eel Alley though! It was our last night in Vietnam, and the furthest north I will be until next May/June. It's all downhill from here! I feel going south is like going downhill... We had a bit of a nightmare with our bus to Laos.. but I havn't got time to write about it now, got a bus to catch to Vang Vieng! So I'll complete the end of our 2 weeks in Vietnam next time.
Miss you all loads.
El & Nai