**** Sully wrote this a few weeks ago and we're now just able to update our blog. We're currently in Christchurch, NZ until March 5, 2016 - Then off to Sri Lanka! ****
Chin sow!! That's hello in Vietnamese!! I know we only spent A WEEK in Vietnam but I'm going to split it up into two different Blogs! The first is about Halong Bay and around Hanoi!! The second is about... well you'll find out!! So Halong Bay... If I used one word to describe it I would call it GIGANTIC!! I mean it's not even a bay like Kitchi Bay (2 square km!) Halong Bay went on for KILOMETERS!! First though we arrived at the airport from our Lao Airlines flight (I highly recommend this airline and it's in the top three so far!!) and so we first had to get our OAV (On Arrival Visa) which is where you pay for the Visa at the airport!! We couldn't do that in Myanmar (See: Khmer,Thai,Mai) but in Vietnam it was the top choice (as proofed by the LONG line of tourists waiting their turn!!) and we got three too! After that we left the airport for our shuttle from the airport after Jay exchanged all his Lao Kip for Vietnam Dong instead (16,500d=$1 CAD) and then we arrived at our hotel! It was off in a side alley and it was called the Splendora Hotel!! When we arrived we saw a proudly displayed 9.3 rating from TripAdvisor!! I couldn't BE-lieve my eyes!!! But it just got better...! After we were settled and waiting for reception a waiter came and brought us some welcoming drinks! It was a lot like Orange Tang and it tasted AWESOME!! Then the receptionist came and told us since they were still cleaning out our room and so then we got to sleep in the family suite for the same price!! We still had only two beds but the ENTRY HALL (yes I said ENTRY HALL) was like a hallway!! We also had a private WiFi router and our own TV (we always have a TV though) After we read for like two hours we went outside to go mail packages to Canada because we are sending Christmas presents to everyone!! Voila! The reason this Blog title is Just Keep Moving is because when you cross a street in Vietnam you HAVE to Just Keep Moving because if you don't and you stop in the middle of the road someone will hit you or if you make it halfway and start sprinting then you have a 50/50 chance of making it to the other side!!!! So the first time we did it we literally SHADOWED a local and like I said he Just Kept Moving and this is because you have to trust all those motorcycle drivers to swerve around you instead of you (try to) dodge them!! Did I say motorcycles?? I meant MOTORCYCLES!!! There were more motorcycles in Hanoi than I'd seen in my LIFE including the rest of Southeast Asia!!
After we mailed our package we headed back to the Splendora Hotel and along the way we found these things like leches and so we bought them along with some pineapples and bananas! Once we got back inside Splendora we hit the hay because we were THAT exhausted!! The next day we had to move to Splendid Star Hotel (a partner of Splendora) and before we moved we ate a hearty breakfast at Splendora (two fried eggs bacon ham and toast with butter and jam for me!!) and then ROLLED our luggage down the alley and to the spot where Splendid Star Hotel was!!After leaving our stuff in our room we hopped on our tour bus that would take us to Halong Bay!! On the way our guide whose Vietnamese name Ton meant money told us the story of Halong Bay!! Once there had been locals who had worshiped the five dragons of Halong Bay and then one day raiders came from China by sea and the dragons came and dropped 'fireballs' (really the limestone mountains) on their ships!! That's how the limestone giants came to be!! When we arrived in the Port we boarded our ship (which was pretty nice considering that there was 23 people instead of 35!!) and then ate lunch which was fish and prawns and cucumbers and spring-rolls!!! After that we started approaching the Bay and so we all looked out the windows!! WOW!! The limestone mountains were a Natural Wonder Of The World and so obviously I was BLOWN away!! They were HUGE!!! They were AWESOME!! Everyone was amazed and rushing to get their cameras and the whole time Max's mouth was a gaping hole!! I loved it all and so I went upstairs onto the deck and fifteen minutes later we were approaching a floating strip of wood with fruit stands and kayaks and canoes on it! If you've already put two and two together then you'll realize that yes we were gonna go into the boats!! Jay Max and I took a canoe with a local woman paddling it and she took us into two different CAVES that we're INSIDE the limestone giants!! It was SOOO cool!!
After that and once we were back on the boat we headed over to a GARGANTUA cave that was HUGE!! Inside there were soooooo many stalactites and stalagmites and he had this laser pointer and pointed out all these different formations of animals in the rocks!!
Following the cave we started heading back and when we got back to Splendid Star Hotel we went out and started heading towards the Night Market and when we first saw it all over the road we decided to just eat at Domino's instead!! After that we headed back towards the hotel and got our stuff and went towards the train station in a Taxi with our hotel receptionist who INSISTED on following us all the way into the train car!! We got into our room witch had two bunk beds and a table underneath the window! I better sign off now but it should be SOME night because a 6-year-old girl and her grandma just moved into the top bunk across mine and are snoring!!!!
Any snow in T.O.?
P.S. Chin sow is pronounced sin jow.