Thursday, February 5, 2009

Halong Bay

My keyboard at home doesn't work anymore and neither does my cellphone. I blame humidity. But here's a short post done at work...
We paid about 50$ USD and it included a cave-tour, kayaking, 4 meals, and an overnight stay in a cabin on the boat with a private bathroom.

A couple friends, I'll call them Dele and Max, decided last minute to visit Halong Bay. Dele is leaving to go back to her home country, and she hadn't ever been to this UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.

This is the Halong team. Because we were vegetarian, we were completely isolated from the other 10 people on the boat. They had to sit at the same table, but we were always demanded to sit at the vegetarian table! I think there was a sale on veggie-shrimp because all four meals had veggie-shrimp in it!

There were quite few older dutch people on the boat. Before kayaking the guide told us he was taking them somewhere else for another activity. He actually called them "old people."
We never saw them again.

We went "cave exploring," which means walking around a built path in this giant cave that's lit up like the castle at Disney World.

Dele and I found this amazing isolated beach with a shrine on it. We immediately kayaked towards it, took off our clothes (we were wearing bathing suits underneath) and dived into the cold water. I thought the beach made of seashells was so beautiful until I realised that stinging sensation on my feet wasn't warmth but many many small cuts.

While we were at the abandoned beach I thought "wow, I wish I could have a cigarette right now". When I walked into the shrine, there were 5 cigarettes and a book of matches siting on the alter. Taking this as a gift from Buddha, I prayed for a minute to thank whoever had offered those cigarettes (and gave a quick glance at the dragonfruit that had also been offered) and ran off with a lit cigarette in tow.

Among the larger tour boats, these tiny boats contain cute wrinkly Vietnamese ladies selling hand-made traditional goods like Oreos, Choco-Pies, Ritz Crackers and Marlboro Lights.
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Jeannette said...

You think it was veggie-shrimp, but it was really the old people.

Rebel said...

LOL @ Jeannette

Love the pictures! I really want to visit there someday. BTW, you're going to need to generate some good karma to make up for stealing cigarettes from buddha!