Imagine yourself relaxing on a boat, cruising across the water with the sun on your back and the wind through your hair...can't? Oh sorry, that was ME today!
Today was the eagerly anticipated Ha Long Bay. A 'four hour' mini bus journey from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay (which we've just found out is one of the NEW seven natural wonders of the world). I say 'four hours' because we went on a 'three hour' mini bus journey to koh samet and that was like riding through hell on a unicycle. Today's 'four hour' journey consisted of a half hour stop for the bathroom and to persuade around a shopping centre. The first half hour was also spent picking people up, which was hardly travelling. So really it was a three hour journey. There's room to breathe, the air con actually blows your hair and the tour guide talks to you to pass the time.
We now know lots of facts about Vietnam (from our guide):
There is one main rule for driving in Vietnam:
There are three things every good driver needs in Vietnam:
The horn can be used to warn people you are there or just to say a friendly hello to people you are passing!
The best way to cross the road in Vietnam is to close your eyes and walk slowly across the road into the traffic.
If you look on the map Vietnam is a skinny country 'slim' (which also means 5 I think), according to our guide that's 'slim like our people-sexy'. Unfortunately his opinion on England wasn't so good. 'Britain-round...not sexy' I'm hoping he was talking about the way England looks on the map too... There's two Canadian girls near us on the bus and he also said 'Canada-not sexy' due to the fact is is wide. Well that's how we are taking it anyway!!
He told us of Hanoi and the different people around the more mountainous regions. He told us of the different ethnic groups within Vietnam-loads! He told us a few of their traditional names and how you could tell who was who by their clothing, but I've forgotten all of this as since then I've observed beautiful pieces of natural art.
On our arrival near the bay we climbed aboard our boat and sat down for our lunch. Lunch consisted of: steamed prawns (still in shells), stir fried chicken, stir fried veg (which actually tasted just like Thailand's 'morning glory' dish), spring rolls, rice, squid and a large fish which we just had to dig at...even though it still had a head! It was actually very nice though. We had some fruit to finish our lunch and then were allowed up on the top deck.
Our day then consisted of lazing on a boat, relaxing on a bamboo boat and scrambling through caves before returning to our hotel-the pictures speak for themselves: the place is stunning.
Once we got back it was time to try the local Pho dish at a nearby restaurant. Yum!