Friday, October 17, 2008

Hanoi and Halong Bay

Tour boats crowd a bay harbor.
Floating villages hide in among the thousands of limestone rocks.
Israel, Spain, Sweden, Englad, America, Canada have all made it to the top!
The dead animals fermenting in the wine are supposed to strengthen the libido.
Dragon Kiln steps.
Hoan Kiem Lake at night.
Herbs and noodles.
Balloons!

Hoi An turned out to be our Sin City as we indulged in the tailor shops before departing in shame with our overstuffed packs. Meandering alleyways dotted with oversized trees and ancient buildings in the Old Quarter surround our home in the city of Hanoi. Though overwhelmed with tourist agencies and souvenier shops we have found many charming hideaways for coffee and delicious dining experiences. Rice and rice noodles have taken a back seat to the varieties of world cuisine offered near where we stay.

We joined a 3 day tour to Halong Bay where we met a smattering of travelers from around the world all looking to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the limestone mammoths that rise straight up out of the north China Sea. We visited a cave, took a hike to the top of Cat Ba Island, played beach volleyball, and searched in vain for a karaoke bar.

Again back in Hanoi we are enjoying the comforts of Air Conditioned rooms, larger meals, and all the sights there are to see. Julia has even reconnected with a college roommate who calls Hanoi home. Huong has been a gracious host introducing us to a spread of local foods and a coffee shop hideaway where we enjoyed egg coffee on a rooftop overlooking the city!

Tomorrow we leave by overnight train to Sapa. We'll be motorbiking it all the way back to Hanoi visiting minority villages along the way!

4 comments:

Jan said...

Xin Chao!

Nichole gave me the link to your blog. I'm french, but with vietnamese and norwegian origins, and I'm planning a trip to vietnam this winter. First time in my life! Reading your blog's been very inspiring, so I'll keep an eye on it. Should help me to prepare my journey.

Have a nice stay there

Jan

Daniel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel said...

Hi Laura,

According to your blog things are going to plan, good to see you guys have a good time. I am anxious to see how the motorbike tour went. Anyway I am back on track working on my thesis.

Bye Daniel

Maria said...

Hi Laura!!!

I miss you so much but am glad to see you are having such a good time. Your memories will last a lifetime! When you get back to the States, you will have to call me ASAP so I can hear all of the juicy details of your trip. Also, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make me go with you on your next adventure.

Miss you lots and lots of hugs!

XOXO
Maria