Ha Long Bay to Hanoi and the overnight sleeper train to Hue
Thursday January 24, 2013
Day 15 of G
I get up early to try and and get dawn photos from the deck. It is a little too hazy but still beautiful. We have our first breakfast at 7:30. It is fairly basic, especially compared to the other meals on the boat but nice. Fried eggs, toast, the wonderful little bananas that I will miss so much when i leavve Asia, dragon fruit, and "laughing cow" cheese of all things.
We took the dinghy to the Son Sot Cave. It was remarkable but again with all the steps! It is a huge cave with lots of interesting formations and we took about a half hour walk to go through it. Luckily it was decently lit and had paths and stairs. We are certainly getting our excercise here.
We went back to the boat and had a half hour to pack our things and abandon our rooms so the staff could clean them for the next tourists. Then we had as the hobbits say, second breakfast. They are calling it lunch but it is only 10:30 in the morning. Another fabulous 7 course meal. Enough already! I surrender!
We have to pay our bar bill for my wonderful bottle of wine and Jeff's beer from the day before. They are very confused and I am sure we were overcharged. Chris, who never drinks alcohol was charged for a wine and a beer but refused to pay.
We board the dinghy to get to land and we are almost to the mainland when Jeff realizes he forgot his guitar. We continue to land, get off the dingy, up the treacherous steps, and then the crew goes back to retrieve the guitar. We tip them all of 50,000 dong for this. I asked Andrew how much we should give them and that was his number.
Now we are back on the bus and I am finally caught up with this journal again!
Later: It's a 3 1/2 hour bus trip back to Hanoi. We had one lame rest stop very early on where all of us travelers had to wait for Andy, Duc and the driver so that we could get back on the bus.
We arrive back in Hanoi and get dropped off several streets away from the hotel because it is too congested for the bus to take us all the way there. So we all get to practice crossing streets in Hanoi again.
We check our email and I send off a couple of days entries of this journal. I couldn't upload any photos because the system was running too slowly. We have one communal shower and bathroom available for our entire group.
Jeff and I hike over to the store that sells guitar strings. We only have to cross a few fear inducing streets to get there. Jeff is optimistic and only buys one set of medium strings. He and I are getting better at crossing the streets. I might get the hang of it with a little more practice. We go back to the hotel and then go over to a small restaurant around the corner and across two streets to pick up sandwiches for the overnight train trip tonight. I learned my lesson the last time and will not be eating train food in Asia.