domingo, 20 de novembro de 2011

Halong Bay (english)

Previous: Hanoi

The day started early. Around 6.30 am I woke up to take my "super" breakfast at my hostel. I checked out and around 8.30 am I took the bus to the Halong Bay tour. A 4-hour trip would take place until getting to Halong City's wharf. Vietnam, differently from Cambodia, has plenty of highways. On the way you can see some factories from Canon, Yamaha, Honda, in fact the country is becoming developed as an alternative to China and other traditional industrial countries in Asia.

Halong Bay - as also Foz do Iguazu and the Amazonia, but Brazilian media didn't care about that - was elected one of the 7 natural wonders of humankind. And sure it is. The legend is that when Vietnam had to expel its invaders the gods send a dragon to help them. This dragon spit pieces of jade and other jewels that afterward would become the islands of the bay, a natural protection to new invaders. After the battles the dragons decided to live on that area and there they stayed. The region has 1,500 km² with almost 2,000 small islands that take tourists from the whole world to check the limestone karst formations and emerald colored water. I had lucky to get 2 beautiful blue skies days with almost no clouds, something quite rare since the bay is usually foggy and misty. 

Soon you could see the draw of the islands in the skyline. Who likes pictures this post is a must see! :)

After waiting a little we got into the boat, around 15-20 people and went to the islands.

Our lunch started to be served. I was in the table with other 3 Russians, Dimitri (Dima), Maria and Yana. All from Siberia. As the waiter offered the drink I had a short sample of how Russian are party people. Dima ordered 1 bottle of white wine but before the waiter could leave to take the bottle his wife turned and ordered that it should be 2 bottles of wine. Well, there's more to come. haha.

Here you can see peanuts with salt and sugar - very good by the way - fried meat roll, cucumber, fish and tofu which are not in the picture.

From now on the pictures talk by themselves.

In the skyline the recently opened bridge of Halong City, one of the largest in Asia.

Pier area to visit the Thien Cung cave. There were so many boats that they were bumping each other and there was a queue to take passengers.

Full moon seen from the boat.

On this picture we have Russia, Poland, Netherlands, Germany, USA, Hong Kong and BRAZIL! During the night the Russian were revealed! Vodka, cognac, wine, beer for everybody. Obviously they got drunk and then started to hug everyone, sing, take pictures, etc. I really didn't think about the Russian like that before. It was also extremely interesting to know that the Brazilian TV novels and Paulo Coelho are super hits there and thus everyone has some knowledge about Sao Paulo and Rio. 

The pictures below are about the other day, starting by the sunrise. 

I had already talked a little bit with her but during this day I could interact more. The lady on the left is Christine, she's French and they boy is her son. They have been living here in Phnom Penh for 6 years and she works for more than 15 years for Doctors Without Borders thus living also in many countries of Africa and Asia. I talked to her a little bit about Cambodia's recent past years and she told me that in the last 3 years a big transformation started with many buildings coming up everywhere and lots of cars. Besides that she also explained me that the public health system even though got better it's almost null. The staff has the needed qualification sometimes but the doctors and primarily the nurses often take money from the patients to improve their salary. When that doesn't happen after noon you can't find anybody in the hospitals because they're working for private clinics. This is very critical for ethics reasons but at the same time it's a complex situation since the salary paid by the government is very low and they still need to feed their families, etc. 

Here we stopped for kayaking and it was something amazing. Unfurtunately I don't have pictures cause I was scared about taking the camera and the kayak turns. It was awesome and we have been through 2 water filled caves. 

For closing, when waiting for the bus to come back I took a picture with other party Russian, who actually was drinking beer during breakfast. More than 4 hours and I got back to Hanoi. During this night I went with Hón for dinner in some McDonalds' style fast food restaurant (Lucky Burger in Cambodia) called Lotteria. We went upstairs and then we were eating suddenly comes up 1 rat running through the flooer. Then, more 1, and after more other 1 and other. Soon we had 4 rats very active walking around. I looked at Hón I told him that there were rats around. He said "yeah, there are some" and continued to eat. Cultural shock... haha. 

Next: Tam Coc

Nenhum comentário:

Postar um comentário

Por favor, deixe seu email no comentário para que eu possa entrar em contato com você! :)

Please, leave your email address in your comment so I can get back in touch with you! :)