Chris and I have been on a fantastic adventure here in Vietnam. We started in Hanoi, spent three days in Halong Bay, headed south to Hue (the ancient capital) and are now even farther south in Hoi An.
Vietnam is what I imagined South East Asia to be. Lush green jungles, rice patties, a crazy mixture of ancient and modern, and air that you can cut with a knife. Hanoi is a crazy busy city where crossing the street is an adventure every time. Bicycles, motorbikes, taxis and buses pack the streets with no consideration for the traffic lines on the street or the red lights. Hanoi Backpackers’ Hostel is a proper hostel that helped us make decisions about our trip. A special thanks to Rio, a fellow San Franciscan, who went above and beyond to help us out.
Our Halong Bay trip rocked. Because it was St Patricks Day only 9 people booked on to the trip. We had a great group of Germans – two of which we are still traveling with – one South African and a Brit. Kayaking through the fog with the karst landscape looming like ghostly monsters took us all by surprise. According to legend a dragon from heaven formed the island chain of diamonds and gold to protect Vietnam from the invading forces. Mind you there are no diamond or gold on these limestone islands.
After a day and night on the bay 7 people continued for on to Cat Ba island. Chris and I spent the day rock climbing with Slo Pony. The climbing was picturesque, up amazing limestone cliffs with a variety of levels of difficulty. Our guide Tim helped us through 4 climbs. The first two were within my skill level, the third was hard and required a lot of help from Tim and encouragement from Chris. The last climb nearly killed me, it took me more than 30 min to finished it and was well above my skill level especially because I was already tiered but I made it and was so proud. Chris, who has been climbing on a somewhat regular bases, did much better than me on all the climbs. By the end we were both hot, stinky, and full of adrenaline and endorphins.
After our Halong Bay tour, we paired up with Kathrine and Mattious from Germany and headed south by over night train to Hue. I lost my tracking SPOT device on the train and had a very hard Friday. Between losing my SPOT, being away from Scoutt and unable to call him on our 6 year anniversary, my mildly upset stomach and painful hips I was CRANKY PAINTS!!! The gang was great about it, and French pastries that could end wars they were so good.
Pictures and more updates to follow when there aren’t four people waiting for the internet.