Indo China – Day 30

When we were warned about hard beds at this hotel I thought it might be an issue for my bad hip, as the hard bed on the second train wasn’t the best, and I was right with this one as well. So I had a very broken sleep as the one position I could fall asleep in didn’t stay that way during the night, so I often woke in pain and had to roll back around to the one that I could at least sleep in. So when the alarm finally went off at 6am, I could tell I had slept an ok amount, but it wasn’t exactly quality sleep.

Once up though it was breakfast in bed with snacks we had bought the night before, as we thought with the extra early start, and maybe places not being open for breakfast in a beach town like this, that snacks would be best. Then it was showers and getting into our togs, as today we were off to kayak through the beautiful islands of Harlong Bay.

At 7.30am our bus picked us up and we were on the way, and this time the drive was much shorter, maybe only 5 minutes, and we got to a new port and jumped on a much smaller boat than the one from yesterday. The journey was about 30 minutes and the weather was pretty bad, which was easily the only really bad day of weather we have had so far in Vietnam. But we were all going to be wet soon anyway, and Mollidy and myself had already dressed appropriately, so we were fine.

Once at the floating house that ran this business, we got into life jackets, and then into two person kayaks, and with a nice gentle consistent rain, we started paddling in a column. The first destination was about a 30 minute paddle away and it was a lagoon accessed through a small cave that had a low roof we had to go under. That was really pretty, and we were told on sunny days often monkeys could be seen, but we still enjoyed what the wet day had to offer.

Once out of there it was another 30 minute paddle to a small beach where we all got out and swam in the ocean. That was pretty cool, and it was funny how the water had so many cold and warm patches that kept passing you by as you just floated there. Once back on the kayaks though it was another 30 minute paddle back to the starting point and then a boat ride back to shore. So despite all of us being soaked to the bone, we had a great time, and it was one of the high lights of the trip.

We got back to the hotel around 10.30am, and our bus was leaving at 12, so we had time to shower, change, and grab lunch, but sadly the place we picked that we hoped would be quick, ended up being quick but shit at everything else. Bad service, bad food, and over priced, but such is life, and it did at least give our tummies something to digest.

At 12 the bus arrived and we were off to the ferry where we would be crossing with the bus, but we weren’t allowed to sit on it and instead sat on the top deck. But just like the ferry we took in Cambodia, I’m glad we didn’t stay on the bus, as it really would have been a death trap if the ferry went down. The trip itself took less than 90 minutes, and when back on the other side we had a 4 hour bus ride back to our hotel in Hanoi.

About two hours into the trip though we had a toilet break and visited a massive factory that has been set up to allow disabled people the chance to work. Here they made everything from small trinkets to massive marble statues, so if you have a few dollars to spend, or close to a million, this place had you covered. Though for a place that had donation boxes all around as it was technically a charity, I still couldn’t help feel that someone was getting very rich from this, as they had 30 or 40 people making things, and it felt like nearly an equal number of people selling the items, so it was an odd place and feeling I got from it.

When back on the road it was about 90 minutes to our last stop, and as usual, this time flew by. Tonight was also the leaving dinner for this second part of the trip, as 9 of the group were going to be leaving, along with Bon. When at the hotel we saw a note on the counter from our next tour leader informing us of the next nights meeting and the names of the 6 new members, and the leaders name as well.

We had just over an hour to shower and chill out in our rooms before meeting as a group at 7.30pm, where we caught taxis to a restaurant in the old quarter. I needed to get money for the next part of the trip so myself and Mollidy walked down from the restaurant to an ATM, but on the way back I had a local guy stop us and try and take off my jandlas. I have no idea why, but I quickly stopped him and we kept walking. There are so many scams around that I can only guess what this one was.

The food at the restaurant all looked and sounded good, but our two starters and our main was just ok, but the really odd thing was the main. We both ordered the chicken curry with potato and rice, which we thought would be like the Cambodian dishes we had often there, but when it turned up, the potato inside the curry was just large hot chips. Kinda felt like they failed so hard with that that they actually won!

After dinner the group started saying their goodbyes, and then 7 of us headed back to the hotel in a taxi while the rest of the group went out drinking to celebrate their last night, as many of them were flying out the next day. Though for Mollidy and myself, we had two more legs of this 5 leg trip to go, so we happily got into bed, chilled out, and then drifted off to sleep.

Today I want to talk about getting rid of your plastic bottles or empty fizzy drink cans. You see, and maybe it’s just me as Mollidy hasn’t had this happen once, but many times I’ve been walking down the street in Indo China with said empty vessels, and I have locals ask to take them off me. I know they get a small amount of cash from them through recycling and that’s why they do this, but for a tourist it’s a great little system as you never seem to hold onto that kind of trash for long.

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