Random pics from past two days

The boat cruise in Ha long Bay was beautiful in the evening we had a dinner with everyone. Some things good, some just ok. We were the oldest in the group. Most of the group were in their 30’s. Some lucky ones were traveling for months. We really liked a Canadian couple. They were on a six month trip. They were frustrated with their government policies on sick and endangered species. I think they were our equivalent to Forest Rangers.

After dinner we tried to fish for squid. One of the guides played Ukulele. Early to bed for early sunrise.

More kayaking through caves Breakfast and lunch and just watching the amazing views. We packed up for the next part of the adventure. A boat was to pick us up before the rest of the group departed but they passed us by. Oh well, trust and patience is part of travel. Eventually we were put on a small boat and headed to Monkey Island. We had been told that the Island was a popular spot for many years but now closed to visitors. Later we found out that if you stayed at the resort, you could be on the Island. And I use the term loosely when speaking of the resort. And btw, yesterday the resort closed. We were there on it’s last day. Either a big company was taking it over or it was going to be going back to natures we heard both stories.

As we arrived at the “resort” no one greeted us, no welcome drink and no one at reception. Finally someone brought us up the stairs to the open air restaurant overlooking a beautiful sandy bay. I think we showed our passports. Then he took us to our bungalow. Second story, rickety steps, beaut view of the bay. Back to the restaurant and had a drink. Then decided to check out the pool on the cliff. It was empty and smelly. So we hiked up to the gazebo on the top. Crazy dangerous climb and a precarious gazebo in disrepair, great views though.

Stay in the middle on the beam

Remember you can’t have Adventure travel with out Adventure and Adventure come with Obstacles.

Julie had her share of troubles yesterday. She just doesn’t read the signs.

We took a speed boat to a small cove and biked into a village and then hiked up a steep mountain for the view. It was a 2 k hike up mostly at 45 degrees up through rocks! Took an hour up and even longer down. Julie got electrocuted but she is fine!

More photos to come.

I once was known as the Woman that fell of the Horse in Nicaragua, now I am the Woman that got bit by a monkey!

Let’s just start with, no I wasn’t feeding or otherwise antagonizing the monkey. I was reading a book, enjoying some quiet time. I looked up and two monkeys and a dog were approaching. I was on the pier. I stood up tucked my sunglasses in my shirt and took a picture and a second one. Then it jumped on me and bit my arm. I screamed very loudly because I was cornered and I didn’t know what to expect. I grabbed a bi bamboo pole and I was ready for battle! They scampered away. Finally some one for. The Monkey Island Resort came to my rescue. I was walking back to the room and they wanted me to come with them. I did at first but I could just imagine them using an old rag and dirty water to clean it. They followed me to our bungalow and I got my first aid kit out. By then someone brought a first aid kit. The wound in about and inch and a half long in the shape of a smiley face, must have been the bottom teeth because the upper fangs would hurt sooo much more. The guys had some betadyne so they put that on it. I took a bandaid and got the edges as close together as possible, like my Mom does for her wounds. I applied some high strength antibiotic cream, another bandage and wrapped it. I have some current antibiotics so I took one of those and some Motrin and some very old pain pills! Julie had been on the other side of the bay and heard a scream but thought it was a monkey. I texted her that ai had been bit and to be careful. Then I heard her call me from outside the door. She was surrounded my monkeys. There are 70-80 monkeys on the island. I told h we what happened and we took pictures. I texted my kids and then some monkeys were outside. They seemed friendly but then not so much. They were trying to get in! We called the tour company because we had no way of getting in touch with the staff. They came knocking in minutes. We just wanted to be escorted to the dining area. So we quickly packed and had breakfast and they kept the monkeys away. Our next boat picked us up a little early for some biking and hiking.

More tomorrow but sounds like I will need to get some prophylactic rabies shots. It’s not the 30 painful ones in the stomach anymore.

First pic
Second pic
Mostly Betadyne
On our porch

Halong Bay 2

Typical tour stuff, gather up, well first they had to find us at the restaurant. We are used to that. We had our names called over the loud speaker at O’Hare years ago when we were busy catching up with a cocktail on the way to South Africa! So they had us have our second drink as a take away. Small bus to the dock, gather, wait, get in small boat, wait gather, get on bigger boat, sit down, get information….. finally to our “state room”

Unpacked a little still unsure if we are two nights on the boat or one night here and one night at a bungalow. We thought the first day was hiking and biking but now it’s swimming and kayaking today. Aapparently the weather is better today than it will be tomorrow.

Swimming after a little cruising. Fun to jump off the top deck. The water is perfect for swimming, very salty. After swimming time to Kayak. Sit ons that were not comfortable at all brought a beer and cameras. Went through three caves, one with bats. They provided headlamps. Seemed a little Disney, waiting for a cliff or a pirate to come out. The lagoons were serene, except for the trash. We saw some monkeys too.

Prawns for George

Halong Bay

The minibus picked us up almost on time. The drive was almost two hours. It was clear that there were other tourists on the bus but also some locals who were dropped off and picked up at random spots. Money was exchanged too. Who knows. We reached a ferry and we’re parked next to a truck load of fat pigs, but they were so cute. Lots of windy roads on Cat Ba Island. The taxi dropped us at the agency, we paid and then went off for money and food.

The city of Cat Ba is small, lots of seafood restaurants and tour companies. One ATM in town. Chose the Big Man Restaurant and has a passion fruit mojito. We ordered Pho and pork Skewers and king mushrooms deep fried. The cute server came up after we got the mojito and admitted that there was no alcohol in it! We didn’t even notice! The skewers came with translucent paper. It was rice paper to wrap around the pork with lettuce and dip in the sauce.

Pork skewer with lettuce and rice paper
Passion fruit Mojito

Leaving Hoi An

We packed up after the tailor left. And our taxi guy arrived on time. Again we booked tickets for flight but so don’t seem to be getting all of my emails. Do Ai wanted to be at the airport a little early. On the ride to the airport we drove by Marble Mountain. There was one of the tall like seven story pagodas and a shrine on the mountain. Our driver asked if we wanted to see it. He thought we had time. We drove to the entrance which was a staircase carved into the marble. We wanted to go to the top, there was even a elevator on the outside of the mountain, but we would have to leave our backpacks in the car. It was a hard decision but safer was better than sorry.

The entrance
So many carvings

Back on the road again to the airport. We arrived in plenty of time, got our tickets and boarding passes with just a bit of confusion. They have to look us up in their system so it’s extra work. It seems like they just want to pass us off on someone else. We just smile and be quiet and stand there. It worked.

Some words are in English

Had a beer and fried springs rolls. Did some more planning for a Halong Bay cruise. Why is it so difficult? Some of the info on the Internet is old or companies have gone out of business or this is low season. We had to send an inquiry to get info then most didn’t answer. Then the flight was delayed and delayed and delayed again. By the time we got to the gate people were angry. The flight attendants gave us water. They were kind. We were delayed 2.5 hours but when the people were getting so mad it seemed that the flight was cancelled! We could have gone to Marble Mountain. We even considered taking a taxi there and back by what if they decided to leave and we would have been screwed. The secret to travel these days is to be flexible, drink beer and have a good book to read.

Flight was an easy 1.5 hours. Negotiations with taxi people. One guy was trying to grab my backpack off of me to put in a car. He got dagger eyes! We knew it would be about 45 min drive but this guy couldn’t find our place. We couldn’t get internet so it was difficult. We finally suggested that he call the hotel I think he called them about 4 times to get direction. He graciously took the 500.000 dong we agreed upon, but was visibly pissed. Hotel was good enough. A little dirty we realized in the morning. We walked down the street to a BBQ place, wine and seafood. Back to hotel, with our own entertainment.

I liked this painting
Part of the light show and booming music

Time for bed. We are both exhausted again!