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Through the eyes of Firstborn

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My oh my – the day we’ve had.   Let’s start Fraulein Maria-like, at the very beginning.

Leaving Hanoi for Halong Bay:

We woke up 5:45am to the sound of two very loud apple product guitar riffs unlike the beautiful bells Maria would’ve heard in the nunnery in Austria.  SWMBO and Fahbio got up seemingly easily as the five of us struggled with the idea of light, getting out of the warm blankets, and putting our feet on the cold tile floor.  Paris especially had a hard time, not getting up for a good ten minutes after everyone else.  We not-so-quickly packed and re-packed, did the last of our wifi-ing and walked down 5 flights of stairs to find the hotel owner asleep on the lobby floor.  We stuffed 5 bags in the corner of the lobby (as pre-planned) left our room key on the counter and went out onto the cool Hanoi street.  Along the way to the bus stop we stopped for coffees for Fahbs, SWMBO and me at a cute little shop called The Note where customers are encouraged to write, then stick, a post-it on the wall.

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Continuing on our walk I spotted a Shawarma/Donair stall which I excitedly pointed out and demanded be my breakfast.  I am the only family member unhappy with pho for breakfast and I had hit my breaking point.

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Venice, OnlyBoy and Lastborn decided to have French toast in a restaurant instead (I don’t understand how that happened…we’ve had pho for breakfast legitimately every day).  Shockingly, we got to the bus stop on time.  However the bus did not.   The weather had been bad in Halong Bay and we were waiting for permission from the government to go out on the water.

We waited for about an hour before we got permission and the bus arrived to take us to Halong Bay.  We were joined by two Chileans on their honeymoon, a mother and daughter duo from Australia, and a couple from the UK.  We may have stuck out a bit.  Although my eyes were closed for most of the trip (but not asleep because Vietnamese roads are obviously designed to keep you awake by the way they pave the roads) I saw women selling bread on the highway, poor houses, rich houses, and graves in rice fields.  But I decided, “A grave?  C’est pas grave, c’est juste a grave”.

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We got into Halong Bay 4hrs later.  We did a transpo-swap of bus to tender.  As we pulled up to the boat on our tender a masked figure waved us good welcome while drums beat faster and faster from inside.  When we stepped onto the boat all five of us siblings looked around, at each other, then around again.  Two words, fan-cy.

Actually one word, I’m not talking about those who adore the sea.

I don’t know if it was because our expectations were low or because we were so unaccustomed to luxury after all our backpacking but were we ever surprised!  The bathroom didn’t have water dripping from the ceiling; we were offered warm toilettes when we got onboard and before every meal; there were clothe napkins; AND WE COULD CONSUME THE ICE!  And produce!!!  Guys, you know how I’ve been a-huntin’ for my vitamins!  I was just ecstatic.

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We ate lunch (5 course meal consisting mainly of seafood).  If you’re blind and cannot seafood I can explain, we had hot and sour soup, squid cakes, spring rolls, jumbo shrimp, and fresh fruit.

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After lunch there was a kayaking trip for those who felt ready to bear the weather.  Onlyboy, Paris and I went.     It wasn’t actually that cold.  Because there were only two-person kayaks I went with our tour guide.  I sat in the front of the kayak, which was amazing!  Since I was with the guide we were always in front of everyone, so as I paddled I saw nothing but the water and mountainous islands (similar looking to 1,000 Islands in Ontario).  Oh yeah and as I paddled.  ‘Cause I paddled a lot.  Our tour guide insisted he was “steering”.  I don’t know if I buy it but I’ll never know since I was in front.  Anyways, next time I’ll know to insist on steering.

After kayaking we lounged about – reading, playing dominoes, sleeping.  There was a cooking class at 6pm to find out how to make fresh springrolls.  I was surprised to see them making what we call “Rice Wraps”.  I say see because I wasn’t participating.  #YouveHeardOfTheHopelessRomantic #IamTheHopelessChef #AsBoringAsWatchingWaterBoil #WaitIsntThatWhatYouActuallyDo?  #PointMade

All that said, I was genuinely interested to learn springrolls are just deepfried “rice wraps”.  I was also genuinely interested in eating them.

At 7:00pm we had more seafood which I think a lot of us took more interest in seeing than eating.  The food was good, just not our taste.  Paris and OnlyBoy learned about the 9:00pm-10:00pm happy hour where you get two drinks for the price of one.  They insisted on staying up another 1.5hrs to take advantage of this amazing milkshake opportunity but I informed them they’ll be surrounded by drunk adults as they sit there sipping their dairy.  They didn’t seem to mind.  SWMBO thought this comment was accurate and humorous.  Everyone loves to make fun of lactose, except for the people born without toes (lack toes).  Then it’s just offensive.
Sorry are these too cheesy?
Am I milking the whole lactose thing?
I mean I thought I was creaming it but I guess I’m no butter at puns than I ever was.

I have totally lost my train of thought…
Oh but you know what?  Speaking of trains let’s take a moment and compare two nights ago’s bed to tonight’s:

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We messed up the room before I got a picture so this is from their website

We messed up the room before I got a picture so this is from their website

Now Fahbs, Venice, and Paris are out fishing squids.  I don’t mean to be shellfish but I would never share my squid – I hear they’re quite the catch.

I’m sorry.  I don’t even know where all this has come from.  It’s been a pun-rampage.  Probably healthier than the rum-rampage going on upstairs.  So really, you should applaud my health.  And I want to do tai-chi tomorrow morning so really, I’m one of those people that’s annoyingly healthy, well-travelled, and an expert at paddling.  I’m so in touch with the secrets of life, I’m like the health-whisperer – I could even write a book helping others! 
For better health:
Pun not rum
Whine not wine
Tape not scotch

To kill a not tequila mockingbird
Paddle not battle
Vitamins don’t lie to him

I’ll continue writing it and letcha know when it’s been published.