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Showing posts from September 27, 2009

Ha Long Bay

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We take off for Ha Long Bay early Sunday morning. We decided to book the tour with the Kangaroo Cafe. The tour is more expensive than others, but the company is run by an Australian and boasts that they have the best tour of Ha Long bay. We take a bus to Ha Long City and have lunch. The lunch is one of those meals were you really wonder if this is it- the meal that will send you to the toilet for hours on end. Luckily no one got sick, and after a few beers we forget about lunch. Trent and I also met and enjoyed the company of 3 girls from San Fransisco who just finished taking the bar. We cruise around the bay to a large cave and take a smaller boat to the tourist trap of a cave. The cave is pretty cool, but like everything else, it would be enjoyed more if there weren't masses of people doing the same thing! We get back to the boat and Trent goes for a swim. After watching the sun set on the sundeck, we have an amazing meal.

We get up the next day and the boat takes off f…

Hanoi

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After a horrendous overnight bus ride, we get into Hanoi. Unlike the last overnight bus, this was packed with noisy locals and an awful smell that came from the frequently used toilet. It was on this particular trip I learn that Vietnamese have no sense of an orderly line. Since I decided to protest the bus's bathroom, I waited patiently for our evening stop. As a few of us started a line, these jokers just but in and stand right in front of you. Suddenly, I'd found my biggest petpeve of Vietnam. Not the sidewalks used for parking/driving, or shoddy (resourceful?) craftsmanship of what's considered a "fix" for any number of problems that tend to rise over time, or even the pushy peddlers. There's something wholly nonsensical about the disregard of a first come/first serve queue. End rant.

We arrive early at our hotel, and plan the next four days of traveling. Hanoi is similar to Saigon, but Trent and I seem to prefer Hanoi as it doesn't have th…

Hoi An

After a down day in Na Trang, we take the bus to Hoi An. This route is an overnight bus, filled mostly with tourists and this time we get a more modern bus. One sleeping pill and 12 hours later we arrive at 7 in the morning. Hoi An is a quaint little town on the river not far from the coast. It's known for hundreds of tailor shops and good cuisine. A good bit of rain settled in our first day here and our time was spent lazily shopping and eating.

First thing we do is rent a couple of old beater bikes and ride 4 km to the beach. At the beach, vendors compete with each other and lobby hard for your money. We sit at a local's little beach station, which looks more like a kindergarten patio set. We buy a coconut from him for a little over a dollar and then head back to our hotel, Vinh Huy. This was another place that the bus line was in bed with, and the accommodations are decent. As you would expect, these places are filled with tourists and it's nice to chat with…