Yesterday morning we woke up bright and early, as per usual, in the town of Hoi An and had some delicious breakfast at our little hotel. Apparently in Vietnam a pancake is a fried dough cake and fried breakfast potatos are french fries, from whence came our breakfast of fried foods.
After our greasy morning fare, we hopped in the car and drove an hour to the ruins of My Son, the old cham city. They were quite amazing to behold but frankly we thought there would be more of them. That being said we did enjoy our walk in the fresh air up and down the paths and the ruins that we were able to explore.
After My Son we made our way back to Hue, stopping at Marble mountain. The best part of the treacherous march up the mountain was most definitely the view. Fabulous to behold we were able to see from China beach all the way across the city.
When we returned to Hue we went directly to the train station to catch our overnight sleeper train back to Hanoi. Talk about feeling like a sardine. We were placed in a car with two other travelers. Our car had two sets of bunks. Allison on top, me on the bottom and two asian men in the beds across from us. It was a bit strange at first but the man on the lower bunk as it turns out was a traveler from China who spoke English very well and we all started chatting about travels. The bunks were not such a fun part of this trip. The beds were very tiny, hard and dirty. Allison and I both slept with all our clothes on and garments over our dirty pillows so we didn't have to put our head directly on them.
After an exhausting night of travel to Hanoi we found a hotel near our pick up point for our Ha Long bay tour that was open. They let us use their facilities to freshen up and their computers and we decided to eat breakfast there since they had a buffett that was 100,000 dong per person (roughly $5, our most expensive meal in Vietnam yet). A bus picked us up at 8 a.m. We crammed in with 20 other travels and began our journey to Ha Long Bay.
Once we arrived we were loaded onto our Junk (what they call the sail boats that cruise the bay) and enjoyed a fresh lunch.
Even with the foggy weather Ha Long Bay is quite astonishing. Huge rock mountains jut out of the blue water all around. After an hour or so on the bay we visited a cavern that was quite spectacular except the colored lights that they had placed around the cave made it look like an amusement park attraction. None the less it was awesome to behold when you realize the whole thing was nature made.
We spent the rest of the afternoon cruising the bay on our boat where we chatted with a group of female english travelers who were all starting a gap year. Oh how I wish I could take a year off work and just travel.
We opted out of staying on the boat for the night as the weather when we had booked did not look like it was going to be so great and we thought it might be rocky. Instead the weather was perfectly calm and the two of us wound up on a curvy death defying bus ride 45 minutes into Cat Ba Island where we landed at our hotel exhausted and ready to sleep only to find out there was a festival going on right below us. As I write techno music blares into our room from all directions. The windows are rattling and the room is shaking. They assure us it will stop at 10, or 10:30 or 11. We have gotten three different answers. Here is hoping for a decent nights sleep.
p.s. after quite some confusion about not being able to get on facebook we found out that facebook is banned in Vietnam because it is a social networking website. So if anyone wants to post a link to my blog on my page or theirs please feel free