So, let's see... last time we "spoke" we were just leaving Nha Trang for Hue. Well, Hue pretty much sucked. In a nutshell, we got screwed into getting up way too early, Kristelle burned her calf on a motorbike and we walked around in the sweltering heat for two hours trying to find the friggin citadel. When we finally found it, we were too hot and annoyed to really look around, so we were quite quick about it. That night, we took an overcrowded (as in, people sitting on stools in between the aisles of seats) 12-hour bus to Hanoi.
In Hanoi, we celebrated Kristelle's birthday in style. And by that I mean we went to the hospital to tend to her leg. The night was more stylish... we featsed on pizza and pasta (ooohh, so not Vietnamese!) and then hit a few bars with Matt, Callum and Roisin (our buddies from the sand dunes) where we enjoyed 65 000 dong vodka/pineapples. Yummy.
Yesterday morning, we left for a 2 day/1 night tour of Halong Bay. From Hanoi, Halong City is a three hour bus ride, the most exciting part of which is the expansive rice fields and sickly looking cows. It all becomes worth it, though, when you finally hop on the boat that will be taking you around the bay. The only word to describe Halong Bay is breathtaking. And we don't mean breathtaking like you just walked past a particulalry rank sewage pipe in the streets of Hanoi and can no longer breathe from fear of vomitting... oh no! We mean breathtaking as in the scenery is so amazingly beautiful that no words (or probably even pictures) can do it justice. Ha long litterally means "where the dragon descends into the sea". Legend has it that the 3000 islands and ilsets of Halong Bay were formed when the great dragon that lived in the mountains ran towards the coast. Its flailing tail gouged out the valleys of the bay and the areas dug up by its tail filled with water, leaving only the land we see now visible. After a short boat ride, we went to visit the "Surprise Cave". It's a rather impressive collections of stalagtites and stalagmites, though its charm is greatly diminished by the multicoloured lights stuck in every possible place and the penguin shaped garbage cans set at regular intervals. It kind of felt like DisneyLand. From there, we sailed on to Cat Ba Island, where we spent the night in a room overlooking the water. When you walked out our door and looked straight ahead, there was just water and mountains in the distance, turn left and you saw giant rock formations, the like of which you could find in the latest King Kong movie... only less dark and creepy, more sunny and fun. This morning, we sailed back to Hanoi, taking full advantage of the bright sun to tan on the boat's upper deck.
Kristelle and Steph went to put some pictures on CD to upload them to the blog, but the CD drive does not open here... so, what we're really trying to say is that we got stuck in a crazy thunder storm for you people, but you still have to wait. Too bad.
And now, we are hungry, so we'll talk to you again when we get to Laos.
Steph, Jo and Kristelle