Hi Ernie if you're reading this!!
Day 51 - 24/11/09 - Hanoi (Vietnam)
The sun was too early for us this morning and we missed the sunrise we had planned to see, but had enjoyed a peaceful sleep on the junk. It was so much quieter than the hotels in Hanoi!
After a very tasty breakfast, the junk set off for Ti Top - this was a lookout area on the top of an island mountain. Once we climbed the 424 steps (which were taller than normal steps) we had an amazing 360 degree view of Halong Bay. It was well worth the climb.
Once we reached the bottom of the stairs, we relaxed on the beach for about 30mins. It was nice to have sand between our toes again and to get our feet wet. We were hoping to get a swim in, but we had not been told we would have the chance so we had not put our bathers on.
Once back on the junk, we showered and packed before relaxing and taking in the sun on thetop deck. We watched little fish jumping out of the water and birds flying around the tops of the island mountains. At 10:45am we had lunch - Hue advised this was so we left the Jewel of the Bay full and happy.
After another great meal, we went back to relaxing until the junk squished inbetween 2 other junks and it was time for us to say goodbye to the beautiful ship. We then said goodbye to our fellow Melbournians Alan and Ben, and travelled back to Hanoi with Michelle and our driver from yesterday.
We again stopped at another workshop for disabled people for a drink before continuing on the bumpy road to our hotels. We pushed through gridlock traffic once we hit the city, said goodbye to the friendly and funny New Yorker, Michelle, then made our way to our own hotel. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and walking to find some dinner.
Day 52 - 25/11/09 - Hanoi (Vietnam)
This morning was a lazy one. We then walked to Hoan Kiem Lake and had a toasted sandwhich and some ice cream by the lake for lunch. Lunch was followed by a walk around the outskirts of the Old Quarter for some shopping.
While waiting outside the Water puppet theatre, Scotty had a hilarious conversation with a guy trying to sell us zippos and hammocks. He wanted to buy Scotty's sunglasses for 5 Euro, then offered about 2000 VND (about 10cents). Note to everyone: If travelling overseas, do not wear shiny orange sunglasses - they attract way too much attention from everyone!
The water puppet show was very different to anything we had seen before and although was very touristy it was good to see. There were a large number of families with small children (we went in the middle of the day) so there was quite a bit of talking throughout the show. The music was very lively and the puppets were very active. During the last act, the background rose to show the puppettiers waist deep in water. After the puppets, we shopped while slowly making our way back to the hotel. On the way back to the hotel, we were stopped by a man who advised us to say hi to his friend back in Australia, Ernie Dingo! We said that we probably wouldn't see him, but if we did we would say hi for him...
Dinner was an interesting experience at the hotel restaurant. We had a broken English conversation with one of the staff (we understood maybe half of what he was telling us). We ordered garlic bread as a starter which came out as a double layer sandwhich with a very thick spread of garlic. Otherwise the meal was quite nice.
Tomorrow we leave for Malaysia - where is the time going? Home in a few days, can't wait to see everyone again :D
Take care - Jess & Scotty