January 01, 2008
Jim decided to go home tonight and I love Hong Kong and wish we could have stayed there for the three days that I booked accommodation.
Went into Hong Kong, and then around the ferry terminals.
Went to the top of Victoria Peak by train and met some people from Port Macquarie. Lunch at MacDonalds and then to the supermarket for a look around :-). Next we went shopping and
had dinner at a restaurant. Then caught the bus out to the airport and hopped (not literally!) on the plane.
This is a photo from the double decker bus as we go to the airport for the 10.00 pm flight - even the airport is fascinating.
December 31, 2007
Cold shower, not a bad thing in Vietnam, but not with the A/C. Bus came and on Thai airlines to Hong Kong. Had to pay 2500 baht ($100AUS) to get the tickets, after Jim left the tickets in the back of the seat on the plan. Real hassle in immigration and treated like criminals after a few hours delay.
Finally to Hong Kong, and what a difference. Airport bus double decker fantastic introduction to the city. Then shuttle bus to Mt Davis YHA. Great driving up the steepest, narrowest roads ever! Pumping station above room - unfortunately not much sleep.
What a gorgeous place Hanoi is. Went back to the Sunshine, and went to get the clothes which were not good. Bought a silk tapestry at the little shop across the road - beautiful. We went to see the Water Puppets, just the kids and me, which were fantastic. Also ran into some street vendors who wanted their picture taken with the giant boy :-)
Tim bought some CD's and Mike bought some T-shirts. John came round about 6.00 and Jim said he was too sick to go anywhere. Had the satay chicken again for dinner at the Sunshine - beautiful.
Slept on the floor as the door had no lock, which was interesting, especially after the train trip the night before.
November 19, 2006
I forgot to mention in yesterday's posting about the train! It was okay, and the trip was long, but slept okay. Getting back to Hanoi was not so good, with other people taking our room, and it was all a bit grim.
Woke on the 8th about 5.30 eggs for breakfast and lunch today. Went to Ta Van for lunch. Today was monsoon weather, so we slid back to town from our walk through the villages and had dinner at the Green Valley hotel. Took the bus to Lao Cai at 6.30 and then a long, anxious wait for our train tickets. It is amazing that the Internet access is the best ever, yet the systems have not caught up with the available technology.
Lots of pushing and shoving to get on the train by everybody, and Elly got hit. Arrived back in Hanoi on the 9th for breakfast and the Internet.
5.00 am arrival. Met baby and took photo. Went on tour at 10.00 with Te as our guide. Trek up and down uneven steps to the Cat Cat village, feeling very dizzy. Went to one of the villagers homes and bought two embrodiered pillowcases - only 7 km but felt like about 30 :-) Went back to the Huong Ha hotel, where everybody else slept. At 5.00 pm Elly and I went to "Chocolat and Baguettes" cafe for Duo chocolate tart, tiny cappucino and enormous hot chocolate for Elly for $4.30 all up. dinner at 6.30 at Gerberas was beaut - Sizzling BBQ Chicken/Beef with rice.
Met up with MeMe and MeToo who want to marry time and Mike :-) Went to the marriage maker and saw a party in the temple. Men were playing instruments, egged on by a huge crowd, maybe to attract women?. Started to go through the night markets, but Elly needed to go to the toilet urgently and couldn't make it to the hotel.
We found an Internet cafe called the Camillia Guest House - they let Elly use their personal toilet and laughed when we offered money for the toilet paper. This was one of the most touching things about Sapa, as well, of course, as the scenery!
Waiting for John till Jim said he'd be there at 2.00pm. Jim was worried about flights to get home, so Tim and I went for a walk. Never take traveller's cheques with you - big commission to change these, and at the Saigon Bank, it took 45 minutes. Time and I walked right around the lake, had a shake at the Kangaroo cafe, and bought Tim and Elly a T-shirt at Hang Gai, as well as 2 T-shirts for Mike at Ma May - great little place just up from the Sunshine 2.
Bought Mike 5 pairs of undies at the place I got the clothes, which ended up being horrible - don't ever go to the , as the clothes were badly made and therefore a rip off - you wouldn't buy them in a pink fit. Jim bought second Buddha at the same place.
After Carl, Stephanie and Laura left at 9.30 (and our Pho breakfast together!), we walked to the lake, to see the temple. We ended up at a department store, where Elly and I bought two shell bags, and ordered new sunglasses for $45 AUS. Jim bought a buddha. After 3 or 4 hours, Jim, Elly and Mike went home, whilst Tim and I went to the Kangaroo cafe, looked at the shoe market, and then walked the Hung Gai.
Ordered 3 shirts, 1 skirt suit and 2 pairs capri pants, then home for a welcome (and most powerful in the world) shower. John came to take us to a restaurant in Tai Ba, in the suburbs (rice wrapper specialty). Mike went on the back of Dave's motorbike, and you can see the picture of this below :-)
The Autumn Festival meant there were billions of people around, and millions of those were kids! The restuarant was fantastic and the people there were fascinated by the seven giants, and especially fascinated by Tim's hair - the lack of cut, as much as the colour!
Afterwards Dave doubled Elly to the 1/2 Man, 1/2 Noodle bar on the back of his motorbike, after dropping Mike off at the Sunshine 2. Had a drink, then home to bed.
On 3 October we walked up 445 steps to see a spectacular view. Carl was like a vision as he came into sight at the temple, carrying a 1 litre bottle of water! Everybody had a swim (although I was a little worried about sharks, and Elly took about an hour to get in the water!), and kayaked, and then onto top deck after dinner for a nap and one of the most serene times ever in the dark.
Our guide was fantastic (see above with Laura), and dealt beautifully with the American boy from hell, who complained, bullied and threatened most of the crew, about everything. In my travel days you wet along with most things and saved the whinging for important stuff, but he gave young people a very bad name generally. We were in bed and asleep by 8.30!!
Woke on the 4th October to an egg breakfast and went to another island to swim and walk up the top to another magnificent view. Took 2 hours to get back, and we had lunch at a restaurant in a hotel nearby. Had a bit of a snooze on the bus tri back and stopped for an icecream. Always afraid of what I'll miss out on when sleeping :-) Got our laundry, showered in the best ever shower, and had dinner with John and Ha in a little restuarant up the road. Fantastic!
November 12, 2006
http://www.flickr.com/photos/59669410@N00/ has Hanoi and Halong Bay photos - a mix from Carl and Mike. Had dinner with John, Ha, Dave, Carl and Stephanie 69 mA May Street - in a private room. Had our laundry done 4 k for 4 US$, and oganised our trip to Halong Bay. Grat breakfast at the Sunshine 2 hotel omelet and incredible bread roll.
To get to Halong Bay, we first got a minibus to the bus station, then a bigger bus to Halong Bay, then on to the boat. I lost my sunglasses at the embroidery shop/workshop for children with disabilities/drink stop, and you'll see them in our photographs :-) Bought a silk embroidery in black and white, then onto boat.
Great lunch, and then onto the limestone caves. Still the people came to sell us things - see the picture of the woman in the boat (left below).
November 11, 2006
The Hardings arrive in Hanoi! See my beautiful purple shirt to the right.
The cyclone took the camera out of action, either because we could have taken one of the flooded rooms, or else it was raining too much and the camera would get wet! So the next photos are of us in Hanoi - finally catching up with the Selbys, and John! On the first night in Hanoi, we had drinks at the top of the city, and then dinner elsewhere, and a fairly early night, like 11.30!