So after a night of celebrating Sal's birthday we head off to see Ha Long Bay. Being the last ones on the bus we were left with the back of the bus... we soon realised why these seats were not taken earlier! This 3 hour trip became on that will stay with me forever. Travelling 100km an hour over some serious potholes the three of us in the back were repeatedly sent flying skyward, whacking our heads off the roof (of course there weren't any seatbelts!). This would have been bad enough at the best of times, but we were feeling a little rough from last night's celebrations, leaving poor Caitriona resorting to vomiting in a pringles can. Eventually the potholes stopped but the fun didn't! On a busy motorway full of coaches heading to Ha Long Bay our driver took it upon himself to see if he could beat them all. This involved a lot of dodgy over taking at high speed, at one point we found ourselves two lanes into the opposite side of the road with oncoming traffic fast approaching. All the while we had to listen to one of the lads (Tim I believe his name was) trying to chat up a Canadian girl, she had some hilariously stupid responses. My favourite still has to be "I want to go back to India, I haven't been before but I know once I go I will have want to go back". But god loves a trier and he was giving it his best shot! Sadly our bus journey came to an end when we arrived at the port.
We were divided into boats, we had a good group. It consisted of me, Caitriona, Sal, Susan and Jenny from Scotland, Two brothers from Australia and Tim who was also an Aussie. Sadly for Tim the pretty Canadian was put on a different boat and all his hard work came to nothing!
The bay itself is breathtaking; it's one of those things you can never fully describe. It has to be witnessed to understand its full beauty. It is baffling when you see all the litter around the bay; it's hard to understand how people can be so careless and ignorant. But in fairness, it isn't all due to tourists. There are floating villages on the outskirts of the bay, who due to lack of facilities end up polluting the water. Once our junk boat anchored we got to explore! There is a cave formation we got to visit, we rented kayaks and paddle around the bay (at your own risk as the junk boats were not willing to stop if you got in their way!), and in the afternoon we headed to a local beach to relax.
The trip included an overnight stay on our boat, so once the sun went down the drinks came out! As we were sitting on the boats deck drinking and chatting a thunderstorm rolled on. I don't which I got more enjoyment out of... the storm, the views, the banter or how big Caitriona's hair had become in the humidity!
In the morning we had to face the bus ride back to Hanoi, once again hungover.