Saturday, November 17, 2007

another side of vietnam

After only about 3 days in the city Tracy and I were ready for some nature so we headed east to Ha Long Bay. According to the wikipedia: "Ha Long Bay (Vietnamese: Vịnh Hạ Long) is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Quảng Ninh province, Vietnam. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes."

We booked ourselves on a "cruise" on a Vietnamese "junk" which included kayaking. While there were lots of cruises and the port area is very touristy the bay is large enough to absorb all of them and we were often in more remote areas where we were the only tourists to be seen, especially when kayaking. It was amazing. We made friends with an Austrian couple and two British ladies whom we saw again later in one of the towns we stayed in further South. The Austrians were on their way to a wedding in Ho Chi Minh City and invited us to the party. All of them invited us to visit them at their homes which is a distinct possibility. It was such a welcome change from the city. The food was great and we often sat on the deck after dinner drinking wine and talking culture and politics until well into the night.

Our guide "Chu" was wonderful and took very good care of us. He was impressed at our kayaking skills and basically let us go where we wanted which was very excellent. While kayaking in the bay we were able to visit the floating villages. People live in these villages floating on the bay year round. We were able to get out of our kayaks and visit the village school house and meet the teachers and "speak" with them a little bit. This was a special treat as it was not a standard stop on the cruise tours and it was just Tracy, me and our guide visiting.


Sandy said...

Hi Tracy (and Cindy). It's good to hear from you again. The pictures are exhilerating (especially the street scenes) - whew! And the "vessel" sure didn't look like "junk"! We missed you at "Game Night". Thanks for taking a minute to call Marge and wish her a happy b'day.
I hope you have an eye-opening Thanksgiving -- life offers so much to be thankful for.
Next here at home -- PAINTBALL! Maybe you'll find a paintball game somewhere in your travels.
Smell the Roses,

jan said...

As always the perfect musical accompaniment to the slides...I can imagine the strokes of the kayak, the sights and smells, gliding between the monolithic rocks and time spent with new and old friends.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy,
You 2 do a wonderful job of photography!!! Really enjoyed the slide show. The scenery was spectacular!!The boat trip looked soooo much better than the bus trip!! And the kyaking was the chance of a lifetime! What stories to tell & you are not even 1/2 way there (around the world that is). The caves made my heart pound. I don't think I could have made it thru there! I'm sure you miss Cindy but she will be there in Italy in your villa! We will be thinking about you on Thanksgiving & thanking the good Lord for all of the protection he showers on us!
Love, Mom & Frank

Anonymous said...

WOW, Tracy. Impressive. I stop in and view your blog periodically. Glad you are well, and having the time of your life. Best wishes.
Awesome pictures. Thank you for sharing. Vicariously enjoying your trip,