After touring the city of Hanoi we headed to Halong Bay the next morning. It was a long drive but we were in for a relaxing treat on the Halong Ginger for the next twenty-four hours. After reaching the bay we were taken to our boat and given cool towels and sweet tea as a welcome aboard. A few announcements and we were given our room keys. We were given a very nice room (Thanks Classic Travel) and then headed to the deck to visit with the other passengers. There were only sixteen of us and six English speakers so we had our group to hang out with. First we cruised through the islands while having our lunch and then after relaxing for a while we took our dingy to the fishing museum. From the museum we took small boats to get a closer view of the village. I can’t say enough about how friendly the Vietnamese people are. They waved and gave us many smiles along the way. We made it back to the Halong Ginger and had a couple of hours to ourselves to get a cocktail and watch the sunset. The guide on board said this was the
first sunset he has seen on the bay in two months. What good luck for us.
We were in for a treat for dinner. Less than a month ago the company that owns the boat started serving dinner in a cave on one of the islands. It was incredible. Never did we think we would actually dine in a cave. Back on our dingy and to the shore we went. We sat with our new friends Mitsi and Jerry and had a wonderful dinner. We shared our cave with another boat so there were several of us. Then it was time to go back to the boat. We traveled to the spot we would anchor for the night and went to bed.
The next morning we got up to watch the sunrise but only saw haze. That’s ok since we had an incredible sunset the night before. They had scheduled a Tai Chi class and cooking class to learn how to make Vietnamese spring rolls for the morning and then we had brunch. After a couple hours to ourselves to enjoy the scenery, we headed back to the shore and our land guide Luc.
On the way back to Hanoi we stopped to walk through a village that makes ceramic coffins and urns for the whole country. Since it is still the New Year holiday (again, year of the Cat) we just looked at the factories. Each family has a kiln. Once a week a truck comes through to pick up their products to sell to the rest of Vietnam. We walked through the rice fields to see the saplings that were growing and the fields being planted to transplant the baby rice into. We always find these little trips through the villages the most exciting and educational on local life. I asked if they see many tourists and the guide said that they didn’t so that explained the looks we were getting. For a while we were being followed by two girls on a bicycle. They kept saying “hello” to us. How friendly.
Finally back to Hanoi for the night and our flight back to Shanghai in the morning. What a trip. We have had a wonderful time and met some of the most incredible people along the way.
Who knows where our next adventure will take us!!!!!!
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