Alla inlägg den 21 juni 2017

Av Magnus Ekstrand - 21 juni 2017 16:35

We had a really nice american breakfast before leaving for Halong bay. A bus picked us up outside the hotel. Yet again we wre the only westernes. However we did befriend an eldery couple from Singapore that spoke excellent english. Sadly, yet again, their name fell out of my mind over the days. They however did not forget ours and spoke it freqvently which I noticed that it makes for a much better impression. We spoke of many things, similarities and differences between our contries, work and leisure time and I felt a certain fondness for the retired couple who still treated each other as they where out at their honeymoon. He also happen to be a former engineer which may have sparked some similarity to my own dad.

The tour itself was maybe semi interesting. They took us to see caverns, kayaking and swiming. Halong bay however made it worth it. The nature was serene while still powerful. The area seemed to be a archipelago with small mountains instead of islands. I was amazed to find little bird life around, we saw some crows and eagles but no other birds. Maybe the wrong season? Also this was one of the first time in Vietnam where I truly relaxed. The boat had a uppr floor with sunchairs where you could lounge just watching the passing scenery. I eased down and did nothing for as long as I could before I was joined by the eldery man from singapore, his wife soon followed and we lay speaking about all and nothing watching the sky grow ever darked. At night the air con in the room was started and we retired semi early to realax. Or so we thought, the room proved to have several more inhabitants than just us. Normaly I am not to squemish, but sharing about 2.5 squaremeters with cockroaches the size of of my little finger(I have large hands) was not plesant. I killed four of them before finally easing down to sleep. There might also have been some "girly" screams while killing the first two. Of course we told our guide, who didn't really seem to understand what the "big" fuss was about. He also tried to grab one of the larger ones with his fingers as if it was a disobedient dog. I contented myself ofs watting away at the creatures using one of the plastic shoes that belonged to the boat, staying as far away as I could while still killing them. Needlesly said it took me 15 minutes after turning the lights out to finally go to sleep...



Our bus, on our way to Halong bay, guide spoke some of the history of both Hanoi and Halong bay. Seems it is named dragons bay and that there is a legend day dragons decended to help man against an invading force. When the war was won they did not wish to return to heaven, but would rather stay among the beautiful islands.  

As with many tours this one stopped at a shop where you could buy statues and art at outrageous prices. But there was no attempt to force you into buying so I guess it was more ok than it could've been.  

Some of the statues.    

Closeing up on Halong bay.    

At the boat, more information from out guide before departing.  

what the tourboats looks like. Some seemed equipped for overnight stay with rooms, others just had viewing platforms.  

Some pictures from Halong bay.  



To get around easier they also had a smaller boat to go in to the islands.

This is how you started the boat, just push the jumpercables together, no key needed...

The "suprise cave", our first stop for the day.

View outside the cave.

Real pretty sights, was told that this is the largest cave in Halong bay.

Second stop, 30 minutes of kayaking. On the other side there was supposed to be monkeys, saw none however :(

Third stop  Ti-Top island, named after a russian who was close to Ho Chi Minh. Also apparently it is aid to be 1968 islands in halong bay because this is the year Ho Chi Minh passed away(?) - so that people may remember him.

The beach at Ti-Topsland

View from the top, beautiful!

Dinner. Very short cooking class on how to make springrolls...

Nighttime view of the boats in Halong bay, add some frequent flashes of lighting and you have what we spent 1 hour watching. Was really relaxing and gratifying sights.

So tomorrow we go to an oyster fram before returning to Hanoi. Then in the eveing we will take a nighttrain to Sapa, a northren mountainvillage. It is said to be cooler up there!

Av Magnus Ekstrand - 21 juni 2017 15:29

We left early in the morning to catch our flight at 08:15. We dared to take a random taxi(from a company with good reputation) just outside the hotel. Turned out to be a nice guy and we arrived to the airport safely. I really should've taken a picture of it as it was no larger than a medium sized conviniance store in Sweden. It feautured only two gates and only one flight in the morning so we felt no need to be worried about sitting at the right gate/boarding the right plane. I slept most of the flight, but was still tired when we arrived at Hanoi.

The driver from the hotel picked us up and we drove for about 35 minutes before arriving at the hotel. About 40 minutes later we had checked in early and had been given a deluxe suite instead of a regular room. We did however get some mixup between Twin room and a Double room and as such it seemed that me and Martin was to share bed. We don't really mind, but it is always fun to wonder what the staff might've been thinking about us. After this, we set out to explore a minor lake inside Hanoi as this seemed to require a minimum of energy. To be honest both of us was reaaaally tired. On the way to the lake we saw a MC driver and his passanger speed by at a insane speed(80-90km/h inside the streets of Hanoi). 2 minutes down the road he'd been stopped by the police. I then did something which was maybe stupid, and most surely uneccessary. I tried to sneak a photo. This earned me some stern shouting from a police I hadn't seen and earned me a scolding from Martin, which I deserved. I probably got off easy and could've ended up with a fine or some trouble we didn't really care for. This did however spark an unexpected turn of the day with me trying to figure out exactly how corrupt the vietnamese police was. I also ended up reading about frequent scams in Vietnam and found out that the peddler taxi(surprise, surprise) had a really bad reputation and was to be avoided. There also seemed to be several scams specific to the hanoi region. One that I almost had been exposed to: While I was walking a guy started shouting and brought my attention to my shoes. Since he was very insistent I stopped to see what he ment. He then procceded to kneel down and try to spray sometime inside my shoes. Luckiely I was quick enough to pull away. It seems they either attach glue or a detergant that ruins the seams of the shoe and then offer to either fix the shoe or to get rid of the glue. While doing this all types of merchants will supply you with "the things needed" to fix the shoe for a not totally extravagant, but still pricey sums.

This and said event with the police had both me and Martin on edge. Hanoi also didn't feel as trustworthy as other cities we had been in. We couldn't really say why but that was the way it was. We therefore spent most of the afternoon at the hotel, reading and relaxing. In the night however we did a food tour which was really amazing. It brought us to many smalltime places where we could try the local food and beer. It also made so that we met John from america which was doing his first days in Vietnam. Very nice fellow. Nice enought that we ended up going out for drinks later on in the evening until late.

But more than the foodtour there was also heavy rain. The kind of rain we never get in Sweden - the skyfall one which floods streets and drenched anything that even goes outside for a couple of minutes. It lasted during the entire foodtour, only letting up when we returned to the hotel. I enjoyed it immensly as rain is by far my favourite weather. It makes me feel alive in ways that are hard to describe. The joy of walking the flooded streets, not caring that my sandals got wet. Feeling the slow chill of the everlasting flow of water against of my rainclothes really reset and turned my mood for the better.


Our flight to Hanoi  

The smog was slighty worse here  

The local lake that we visited.   
Pavements are as clouded by scooters as usual, streets as busy as any other cities.  

Local temple we didn't visit because we were feeling low and also there was an enterance fee.   

Art in our hotel room. The bed was also laid with roses, litteraly...  

Going out on the foodtour.  

First stop where we had egg coffe,.  

Was really delicious, even if the chairs was about 2-3dm in height....

Second stop, local bar! Draft beer directly from the "barrel"   

Rain, rain and rain! :D  

Us at the local bar, yet again not so big chairs.  

Streets flooded kinda quickly.  

Mashed banana thingy that surrounded something that tasted meatballs.  

Duck egg oumelette, kinda tasty(?)    

Eel and noodles   

Picture from the cleanliness of some of the streets in Hanoi... People just throws their trash outside...

The first of the bars we visited, loud music, louder singing from the patrons.   

As many places in Hanoi, at happy hour they serve buy one get two for free. Also happen to include their "bucket drink". I didn't have one, just seeing John and Martin drink theirs was enough.  

After this we went to a place where they also "served" laughing gas. It is used as anastetic in emergency departments and at maternity wards when giving birth. Here in Vietnam it was just another way to enjoy the night. I didn't have any but instead sat around observing it's effect on ´people who was also (slightly-majorly) intoxicated. It seemed to be harmless enough, but what really amazed me was that people smoked at the same time as they inhaled from the baloons(which was how they served the gas). If i remember correctly the gas is also expolisive...(?)  

Seems that Obama visited the district awhile ago and dined at a local resturant, since then many resturants have clamed to be the one favoured by the american president.

Tomorrow we leave for Halong Bay!

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