From Hue to Halong Bay via Sleeper Train
So we walked around Hue during the morning and visited the Citadel. It was quite large but I wasn't too impressed with the architecture or art work. It didn't impress may of us, but the locals seemed very impressed. I guess I would likely appreciate it more if I were deeply inlove with my own king. We walked to a super market, or the closest thing to it. I convince about 8 people to buy different types of cheese and crackers, and then we all got wine on the way back to our hotel. We were going to be on a crappy train from 15:30 one day until 6:00 the next morning, so we also got some munchies. The wine and cheese party was MY idea and everybody loved it. One the way back from the market I pointed out to both Kim and Lyn how Lorne and Ruby were (and always do) hold hands. We find it beautiful that these married people, both 80 years old, can be so full of life. We even hae trouble keeping up with them sometimes. Ruby even takes salsa lessons. Our wine and cheese party on the train was a great success. We were able to squeeze 8 people onto 2 lower bunks. There was Kim, Lyn, Lorne, Ruby, AJ, Myself, Haerishem, and someone else? I also ate on the train. Got myself some rice, some green stuff and chicken organs. I think it was mostly kidney and liver but I wasn't sure? It was tasty. Yes Lorne and Ruby, joined us in our drinking adventures (even at 80 years old), they were one of us. We arrived to Hanoi from the sleeper train, we dropped ourself off at a hotel, packed a bag for Halong Bay and then took a bus trip to Halong Bay.
We arrived at Halong Bay after 4 hours, which is nothing after a 15+ hour train ride. Oh and by the way, there was no toilet on the train. Just a hole and a couple of handles on the walls so you didn't fall backwards.
I posted a pic of what we had to deal with. At Halong Bay we got dropped off at tghe harbor where we got on to a very nice Junk Boat. There was a crew of 4 or 5 and all in a white uniform. The
re was an indoors secetion in which 6 tables were set. There was white table cloths, wine glasses and silverware all set. The lunch was as follows: Huge platter of whole shrimp, stuffed crab (in a whole crab), fried squid, white rice, sauted cabbage, french fries, vegetable egg rolls, and apples...all included. After a 2 hour boat trip of viewing the wonderful harbor area we took a ~45 minute stop to walk inside some natural caves. SO BEAUTIFUL. We then took the Junk Boat back to shore and took a 3 minute bus ride to our hotel in Halong Bay. This place was NICE. We had huge rooms, with huge beds and they even had the rooms ready with warm tea and hot coffee for us. The rooms had given us shoe polish, toothbrushes, combs, toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, Q-tips, shower caps, and so much more. At night we went to a local restaraunt and I got sweet and sour chicken (it was not too good) and we had a surprise birthday cake for Stefan, the German. He had turned 41. After dinner we walked in the down along the harbor and we stopped at a 24 hour Karaoke Bar. There was nobody singing at the time, but they were playing horrible techno music...well just techno music, the horrible part was what I think of techno music. I have formulated my own theory that ALL ASIANS LOVE TECHNO MUSIC. There was no body dancing on the stage. A couple of girls were asking me to dance with them, at least that's what I now understand to be the case. Nobody in my group would go up and for some illogical reason I complied with their requests. I went up and 'danced' with them, and not in the semi-erotic American way, but the crazy Asian way...hand waving, jumping, shaking, and the whole works. I am able to talk to the girls through a local who works at the bar. He says they are from China on a tour traveling Vietnam and that they want me to teach them to dance like me. We exchange moves and then I go sit with my friends. We take turns singing (though only 5 or 6 of us actually sing). I sing "I'm Too Sexy" since it doesn't involve any music range. I had to go up on stage and sing in front of all my friends and probably 15 to 25 other people. After we all finshed singing the locals sang songs in Vietnamese, we all go bored since they were very slow songs and sounded alike. Kim, Carrie, and myself were getting cold so we walked back at this time. Kim and I then hung out in her hotel room and watched some TV and she told me about Amsterdam some more. The next morning I almost slept in and woke up with 15 minutes to get ready, pack up, eat breakfast, and get on the bus back to Hanoi.
After another 4 hour bus ride we got back to Hanoi. We checked in our hotel and this was also a nice hotel. Then we went exploring the city. I went with Kim, Lyn, and Carrie. We bought tickets for the Water Puppet Show tomorrow at 15:30 since all the 5 shows today were already sold out. We walked up and down the streets and through the markets. The traffic here is insane. I have been nearly been run over many times, but that's 'normal' here. You have to have confidence to get anywhere in this town. You just walk in front of 5 or 6 oncomming motorcycles and cars just seems to 'move' aroun you. They never stop for pedetrians like we would at a red light. They do move around you though. Red lights and traffic lane lines are nothing more than a suggestion to these folk. I am very excited to be leaving Vietnam in a couple days and enter Lao. These people are dirty, rude, and pathetic. They always spit, no matter where they are. They spit inside their own temples, along the market, and while they walk to you. I mean REALLY SPIT. Today Carrie and I split some fried food on the street along some smaller road. I think one was a sausage of some sort? The other two were fried meats with spinach and mushroom maybe? My best guess is that they were pork, but I have no clue. Carrie and I are also trying to find some dog to eat for dinner.
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