We are currently in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. We left Loas after our over night stay in the homestay village. It was great to spend some time with a traditional rural Loas family. We got to drink their home brewed rice wine from a terracotta pot through bamboo straws and were welcomed as one of them. We slept on the floor of their home in our own mosquito nets and woke to an enjoyable breakfast. The only dampner was the weather. It had been raining for over 24 hours and this stopped our planned boat trip on the river in boats made from the fuel tanks of B52 bombers.
We travelled to the Vietnam border in a bus and qued up to get money exchanged. We waited to get through heavily armed police to get through the border. It was very windy here and Aaron's hat took off and before I realised what was going on, he'd run after it as quick as a ferret and all I could do was stand and watch, hoping he didn't get shot as he'd run through the security barrier! Then I laughed so hard, I couldn't stop as I went through the border. We had to bribe the Vietnamese border police with a dollar in our passports to let us in. After a very long and windy bus ride, where I got incredibly travel sick, we arrived in Ninh Bin a place where we would just stay the night. The journey there was our first real taste of Vietnam. The crazy road rules, the constant beeping of horns and the countless motobikes. I was already missing Laos, such a serene, laid back country. I forgot all of this as soon as we reached Halong Bay. We were to spend the night cruising on a junk boat. We were not expecting the luxury that was in store for us. Our boat was splendid, awesome facilities, cabins with ensuite, karaoke sound systems and strobe lights! The weather wasn't as good as it could have been, but this is rainy season. We had a busy day after a seafood lunch where the dishes would not stop coming! We went to magnificent caves, called the Surprise Caves and then went out sea kayaking for a couple of hours until sundown. We spent the evening drinking leisurely on deck. It was back to reality and the crazy roads as soon as we got on the bus again. All of us praying our driver had calmed down since the day before!
We spent our first part of the day in Hanoi visiting the famous Hanoi Prison or the Hanoi Hilton as it has become known. The remaining part of it has been made into a museum which was quite interesting. We then enjoyed an evening at the Water Puppet show at the theatre. I had difficulty accepting the people in our group eating dog in a restaurant last night and ran out! Thought I might be able to handle it, but it seems not!
Aaron and I have just spent a hot morning walking around a beautiful lake and the Old Quarter and trying not to get killed as we cross the street.
We have 11 nights in total in Vietnam, but the South maybe a bit different. Hopefully!