Sorry its been a long time since the last update... again, we've been busy girls.
Since we last wrote, we spent a couple more days in Hoi An. It continued to rain, so in true English style, we donned our plastic Macks. We cycled to the beach in the rain. Nice beach. We left Hoi An to Da Nang with bags full to the brim with tailored clothes. It was still raining in Da Nang, so we didnt stay long. We got our fill of culture for this month by visiting the (crap) museum. It didnt have any information aside from 'lion', 'vishnu' and 'pillar', so we didnt stay long. We hopped on the 'Reunification Express Train' to Hue the next morning. Hue is pronounced hoo-ay. Hue is Vietnams third largest city, so we had plenty of options when cafe hopping in our macks (still raining). Our favourite was a little place called Cafe on Thu Wheels, which had writing from previous customers all over the walls and ceiling. On day two in Hue we hired a private minibus with driver for 4 pounds each, to take us to the hot springs. On the way the driver hit bison-style animal, but not too hard-it survived, so did we. The driver was quite impressed with himself. The hot springs were even nicer as it was quite chilly out, even though quite a lot of the pools were closed because it was low-season. There was still a long 'river' open, which increased in temperature as you move upstream. There was also a really cold pool with big slides and stuff. That was fun.
From Hue we jumped onto a night train, where we shared our cabin with some Vietnamese and dried (smelly) fish. We had some good conversations with the non-english speaking Vietnamese, who had been on the rice wine for brekkie. We got off at our stop in Ninh Binh, where it had stopped raining. We found nothing to do in Ninh Binh, apart from go back to the station and book the next train out to Hanoi for the morning. We really didnt like the place we were in, so a bottle of Vodka and some Coke got bought from the 7-mart. This encouraged us to attempt conversations in Deustch with the Germans in the restraunt at dinner.
Hanoi is Vietnams second biggest city, and our favourite. We are staying in the old quarter, which basically means the roads are too small to deal with the vast amount of traffic. Our time in Hanoi has been spent mainly wandering around the lake, observing the locals in puma tracksuits limbering up for some exercise. The rest of the time we have been buying souveniers and Tin-tin t-shirts.
We left Hanoi 3 days ago, for HaLong City. Halong is on the east coast, by the south China sea. Went on a boat tour of Ha Long Bay, the famous place on all the postcards (which we havent sent!) Its a huge bay with thousands of huge limestone formations, each big enough to be called an island. We did some kayacking around the islands in the sunset, very romantic :s That night was spent on the biggest island, Cat Ba. We accidentally ended up in a Karaoke bar with some Long Island Iced Teas, all of which we regretted in the morning when we saw and heard the videos. We went trekking (or tramping if you are from NZ) in the morning, beautiful views again... Hopped back onto the boat in the evening, for dinner and bed(in cabin next to engine).
Came back to Hanoi today, to collect our passports and China Visas. Oh yes, we decided the other day we would go to China for a bit. Basically, we didnt fancy the 23hr bus ride back down Vietnam to get into Laos. The bus didnt end up where we wanted to stop off really either. So now we're going to spend a week doing a loop into China and then come into Laos in the north. Because thats sooo much easier :/
Zoe has just learned she's been accepted by Newcastle and Nottingham unis. We're excited to hear Holly is moving out, cant wait to see your new pad! Also, well done to Tom for the liverpoo interview. Sorry this journal wasn't funny, the next one will hopefully be better and we'll write sooner next time.