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Published: February 1st 2010
Bye Halong Bay
Saying goodbye to the beautiful bay.
Ahh, ANOTHER day of travel. We woke up a little before 8 and enjoyed a buffet breakfast on the top floor of our hotel. Made us wish we'd brought our cameras, as there were some amazing views! We checked out of the hotel by 9am and were once again on our mini-bus with everyone, headed back to the harbor on Cat Ba Island to board the boat one more time. This time, the boat ride was obviously much shorter. Martin and I were nerds and watched the keynote presentation of the new iPad on his laptop during this time, making sure to glance out at the views every once in awhile, although it was pretty foggy.
Back at Halong Bay Harbor, we boarded onto another bus and drove about 15 minutes before stopping at a random hotel for a provided lunch. The food was good, but not as amazing as the other meals, so a bit of a letdown...but oh well! I guess we can't have EVERY meal taste like heaven. 😊 After yet another four hours of being on the bus (which was quite comfortable- Martin and I had the entire back row to ourselves so were able to
Shooting the Moon
Here Martin attempts several moon shots, as it was out, bi and yellow and bright.
lay down) we arrived back at Kangaroo Cafe in Hanoi. It was only 5pm, so we sat in the cafe and both had fruit shakes while checking email and planning what we might want to do for the next few days in Hue.
Since we weren't yet hungry, we decided to just sit on a park bench by the lake for a bit and people watch. It turned out to be a good choice, as we got to watch the moon come out and Martin was able to get some good shots of it. Finally hungry, we went in search of a place we'd heard good reviews about but instead ended up in front of a sort of Italian-chain restaurant here in Vietnam, called Al Fresco's. It was pretty darn good. Again, really China? Vietnam can make damn good pizzas and you can't? Why is that, exactly? Don't take this as hatin on China, I still love it. 😊
Not wanting to pay double price for a beer at Al Fresco's, we moved on to another cafe and got 2 Hanoi beers to commemorate leaving the city. By this time it was about 9, so we decided to
First successful moon shot. whoo hoo!
head to the train station and just wait for our 11pm train there. Upon arriving at the station, Martin headed for the WC. When he came out just a few minutes later, an older woman dressed in pajamas who had been sitting OUTSIDE of the train station on a plastic chair approached us, grunting and pointing to money in her hand, pointing back at the bathroom. Um, we have to pay you to use the bathroom? This definitely isn't unheard of in SE Asia, but usually there is SOME kind of signage or indication other than a grumpy old lady grunting at you. Martin shook his head repeatedly, telling me the bathroom was disgusting and there was no way he was paying to use it. The woman made sure to get quite a few swats at us before we were able to walk away, but nothing else happened. I wish we had a quarter for every old woman that has grunted at us for some reason or another this year!
The station was pretty grimey, but luckily our train boarded around 10pm, allowing us to settle into our nice air-conditioned soft-sleeper cabin. We had 2 bottom berths in a
On the train
Train from Hanoi to another H of a city, Hue.
4 person-cabin- MUCH better than the train ride from Beijing to Shenzhen! Our cabinmates ended up being one middle-aged Vietnamese man and a young female teacher from New York, currently on a year leave of absence traveling around the world with her husband. Her husband, unfortunately, had a berth a couple cabins away and no one would switch with them, but it was fun to chat with the two of them before we all went to bed. They'd just finished traveling around India for a month, following 4 months in Africa! Crazy.
And that was that. I'm a fan of sleeper trains. 😊
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