Wednesday, February 17, 2010

day 4 - ha long bay, vietnam

day 4 we took a one day excursion from hanoi to ha long bay (just over 100 miles to the bay of the descending dragon), where legend has it that when the vietnamese were facing off against chinese invaders, the gods sent a family of dragons to help defend their land. now it's a beautiful, surreal sight to behold, complete with almost 2000 limestone islets peppering the bay.

our charismatic tour guide sun picked us up from our hotel at 8am and we boarded a bus of about 15 strong to make the 3-hour drive to ha long city. he compared marriage to a toilet (those outside want to get in, those in want to get out) and said that rice is like vietnam's wife (every damn day) and pho is like its mistress... :D

halfway there we made a pitstop at a warehouse that churns out gorgeous ceramics, so i was able to sneak in and take a few snaps of the work in progress:

we boarded our boat the harbor and were introduced to the rest of the group by our other tour guide vinh. 'the others' consisted of germans, aussies, brits and italians to name a few.

here's a pic of a family selling fruit on a small boat that rode right up next to us, along with fresh seafood at a nearby floating market:

after weaving in and out of these incredible limestone formations, we docked for an hour to hike up to the sung sot cave (cave of surprises), a revelation of stalactites and stalagmites that also houses a giant turtle that brings luck to each individual that pets its head. naturally, i molested the turtle for the next 1/2 hour, so this is about the only pic that's not x-rated.

we even had the chance to go kayaking, which was my very first time out. seeing as i can't swim, i did have visions of capsizing flash thru my brain, but i kept those brief and soldiered on in the name of enjoying what time we have left on this earth...

we returned to hanoi around 8:30pm, just in time to grab dinner in the old quarter at the city view café, on the 5th floor overlooking hoan kiem lake. one forgets just how spectacular it is to enjoy fantastic local food while traveling abroad...

1 comment:

caroline said...

AHHHHH!! I'm green with envy. It all looks so amazing.

Glad you are doing so much. Remember to rest too!! hahah.