sorry its a long one.

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Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi
November 12th 2009
Published: November 12th 2009
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hey all....its been a while since we last blogged so get ready for a long one.
Since our last blog we got a whole day train to Yichang think I mentioned that yitchang was just a stop off point to get a boat to the three gorges. The boat was far from 5 star it reminded me off the 3rd class parts of the titanic. We did have private rooms with onsuite...a shower hose over a small toillet which leaked into the whole was an experience but at least my time in africa prepared me for the when everone else was screaming with disgust I didnt batter a eyelid. The chinese all seem to go to bed early so we took over the boat lobby if you can call it that and had a few drinks and played cards...getting quite good at some chinese games now.
The next day after a bad nights sleep we got onto a smaller boat to go through the three gorges which was beautiful...used to have panda but not anymore. Lots of the little fishing villages are now 15 feet under the water as it has risen over the years. We then got onto a small wooden boat rowed by 4 men through small rivers. The men and our guide sang traditional songs as they rowed which really created an atmosphere as we slowly glided past mountains. They then asked us to sing aghhh so we all sang row row your boat (phil keep quiet!) not so atmospheric but traditional none the less!
We spent another rough night on the big boat and back to the train station with hours of delays to finally get another overnight train to Guilin to get a bus to Yangshuo.
Finally we felt like we were in real china, Yangshuo looks a lot like Vietnam with lots of small green mountains and a lot more rural beautiful paddy fields. We did a raft boat up a river (I forget the name) and in th evening we saw the comerant fishing (like on the hsbc advert for thoes who have seen it) this isnt as beautiful as it looks. The fisher men put a rope or some kind of stick in the comerants mouth so they cant swallow the fish and then when they see they have caught one they hook the bird out and make it bring up the fish...apparent this is they way its always been done and doesnt hurt them but Im not so sure. That evening Lee played pool with some locals and got his arse completly whipped.....i think they had even more of a mispent youth then he did! I went shopping with a girl from the group called gemma....making up for me missing my gemma! I got good and bartering and managed to get a huge silk fan to go on our all at home which we have shipped home and a few dresses for a few pond each. The ladies would say 120 and I woud say no 40 and they would say ok hardly a hard sell!
The next day we went on a long bike rind past all the little sleepy villages and paddy fields to a place called moon rock so called as it has a hole in the top of the mountain shaped like the moon. At the bottom the farmers wives who have nothing better to do wait for tourists and follow them all the way to the top of the 88 steps fanning them the whole way. I did tell them at the bottom we didnt want it but they did anyway and then got upset at the bottom theat we didnt buy anything from them so we gave them a tip anyway.
After hours of clling various countries and airports me managed to change our flight to Hanoi so that we have an extra day in Hong knog.
In the evening we went to a light show which we didnt really have high expectation for but turned out to be amazing. It was created by the same guy who did the opening ceremony for the olympics. It was set on theenge of a lake and they had 600 actors. The various surrounding hills were lit up and the lake was covered with rafts with lights on really amazing and hard to explain I wonder if there is anything online to show it?
The next day we had a chilled out day looking round the stalls and had a sleep in the park We watched two little boys standing in a streamfishing by hand they were having such fun laughing away it made me miss all our various little ones at home. We had a group meal where our tour guide gotus a big cake that had iced on it happy gap (gap is the company we were with) and naughty oscar which has been a saying of the trip...Oscar from Columbia was good at getting lost or in trouble so David the guide would just shake his head and say naughty oscar..
To our disapointment we left that night and got our last chineese over night train to Honk Kong. Its amazing how different it is compard to China. Obviously its a modern city so built up but its is so multi cultural compared to china and hot we couldnt believe the change in heat. We watched the light show...the biggest light show in the world every building oon the skyline is part of a show they all flash lights in time. We aslo went to the top of Victoria peak to see the views which were stunning. As we were up there we watched the clouds slowly fall over the city.
The next morning we got up extra early which was an effort as we had skyped mum and dad at about two in the morning. We wanted to pack everything in so we went to a few gardens and onto HK island to the other side to Repulse bay which is far from repulsive...a beautiful contrast to the city. We got a tram around the city 9the biggest tram fleet in the world) and stopped off at the hsbc building which is built on stilts and has a glass bottom so you can walk under it and look all the way up - somthing to do with feng sui!
To get back to to mainland you get a small ferry we accidently got 1 wrong ticket so lee was on bottom deck and I was on top deck with Oscar...on my homeymoon with another man (nughty oscar!)
Wehad booked a hostel for this night s the trip was a dive....the room was clean but had to go through lots of dodgy shops and lift then to go through lots of big locked metal gates....we didnt want to spend much time there so spent the evening sat on the harbour taking in the skyline with a few of the group...a really nice end to our china trip.
The next day we only had the morning to our flight so up early again to go to see the longest train and car suspension bridge in the world (nan - it had nothing on the bristol one!) then got a cable car to see big budda the journey in the car was so beautiful.
We got the hour flight to Hanoi Vietnam and arrieved in the evening we had a lift from the airport which the hostel we booked arranged free of charge which was great because we hate turning up and having to find a taxi in a new country. The hostel is amazing especially as it was only five pound a night. Really friendly funny staff...when we got into our room the phone rang it was reception rang to see if we liked our room they asked if it was our honeymoon must have guessed as we have the same name and my passport is new and they said they would arrange a surprise for us! We went for a meal with a coulple we met named Jim and Charlene so easy for us to remember! Hanoi is really busy and sos os hot! hundreds of little back streets full with all sorts of stalls.
Today we had a lie in I think it has all finally hit us. We have booked a few trips for the next few days and went to the train station to book a train to Hue for a few days away. The second youstep into the street you are drenched with sweat...of all the places we have been this is defenantly a different type of sticky.
Tommorow we are going to the perfume pergoda so we will let you know all about that, for some reason I cant use the usb port so cant add any pics at the moment but will as soon as we can.
I did say this would be a long one. Keep the messages coming we love reading them and for thoes who can use a pc please set up a skype account that way we can call for or
Sending you all our love and miss you all like mad every now and them somthing will remind us of home or we will suddly realise just how long we are away and we get really home sick so do keep in contact
love you all
Lee and Katy

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12th November 2009

Know what a spell check is?!!!
Hiya, sounds like you're both having an amazing time and I think cockroaches are all part of the deal with places like that! Had quite a few when J and I were in Israel! I'm really jealous about Vietnam, Tom and I were supposed to go there when we were travelling but it was monsoon season so decided against it! What was the surprise the hostel arranged for you? I'm guessing it wasn't that you could have a meal with a couple called Jim and Charlene?! Everything is good here, Lea started her new job on the 2nd which is going well although she is dealing with Barlcays complaints all day and Jamie is being Jamie ('nuff said!!). Can't wait for your next installment. Take care and love to you both. Pete xxx
12th November 2009

Wow your doing so much what an amazing experience your having! I love reading what you have been up to it great! Found out the theme for this new years party at The Anchor and It's masquerade can't believe it! we love masquerade! Missing you like mad!!!!!!!!!!!! love you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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