Posts Tagged ‘vietnam’

Halong Bay

July 27, 2009

Sent: Tue May 20  2008

Hello again
On the way back to hanoi
Our fears of rain have materialized after 4 nice days

Spent 2 nights at halong bay
I suggest a google search – worth 2 minutes to see how beautiful the place is
Generally it looks like the landscape of james bonds’ man with a golden gun. Thousands of limestone islands of unusual shape – some like half dome in Yosemite – in a few 100 square kilometers
It is a place og great beauty. And a tourist trap. And we were trapped and tried with our fingernails and teeth to get away. But finally, we fell in love. Of  course we are strong adventurous Israelis. So we can not do what all the other tourists are doing. So we kayaked away to some lovely lagoons. Its a jungle out there – deep bush that no one has ever stepped into – the sound of birds and crickets – you on a kayak – a lagoon 100m in each direction – entrance thru a cave, all walled with 40 m of rock and bush – heavinly

The TT boat (tourist trap) looks just like 100 others:
Banks on the lower floor, restauarant a floor above, and a sun roof above. So when the kayak needs to make its way backk to the tt, it is hard to tell which one is ours.
Of course lior and I get a kayak that defies the laws of physics and turns left eben when you steer with te left oar. Idan – mr phsics and mechanics – is laughing at us
The staff on the tt boat is multi discpinary – they serve us, drive the boat, make our rooms all at the same level of expertise. So the boat almost runs smaller boats, the room is clean, a/c only between 9 pm and 6:30 am. But this is great after a day of humidity.
The staff is strict with time, and we are israelis – it is hard for us to accept authority. So we get served all meals late and cold.
More later

Hanoi Hilton

July 27, 2009

Sat May 17 2008

Idan lior and I arrived here 2 days ago
Flight trough Bankok. 3 hour layover and you are in the 3rd world.
During the 3 hour layover in Bankok we tried to leave the airport, hoping to eat fresh pineapple. But the airport is modern and far from the city. ‘No soup for you’
So we entered the employee cafeteria and tried about 10 different dishes – it is fun the to have try new tastes, especially as the western world is becoming homogenized.

Arrived in hanoi
Drive into town Feels a little like turkey or spain in 1980s
You can not drive more than 50 kph, many many motorcycles. Someimes the whole family on a motorcycle, one child asleep, saw a little kid brestfed on scooter
People are very friendly. Kids are huged. Kids are also very cute.
Our selux hotel is a 2 star. No hot water. Great location in old quarter which is essentially a shouk – surprising for a communist country
Initial impressions –
Noose, rythem, energy – hundreds of motorcycles in little streets, no stoplights
Lots of smiles
Lots of people walking around trying to sell anything:
– pineapple and tropical fruit
– clothing
– anything they can carry
Place is inexpensive
Shirt $2., beer $1, modest meal for 3, $15

Market is a real market. You can buy buttons (new, not used), musical instruments, silk. Food market is remarkable. Lots of things you have never seen before. Would you like to eat a turtle?
Need to start thinking about hygine. Can not try everything.
Someone stops lior and glues a part of his shoe.
Had a cooking class – a nice way to start the day.

It is hot and humid. You are sticky. So far no rain.
People here are small nd we are about 20cm taller than everyone. Chairs and toilets fit the locals – like kindergarden chairs.

Today we are travelloing to ha long bay – will sleep on a boat for 2 days
Outside ha noi, all you see is rice fields. Green green green. Sky is grey

We are laughing a lot
Our guide, thinh, said we are very happy. Most people here know nothing of israel – very nice. With one exception, a storekeeper who asked me where I was from told me he was from palestine. Really? No – but make peace, he says. Wars are not good, bad for children
Interesting to hear our guides propaganda. He is a government employee. Loves the country and ho chi minh – like stalin.
He claims the american POWs called the camp hanoi hilton because they were treated so nicely, the defeated invadors

Took lots of photos, had to buy more memory. So far the photos are good, not great. Will try to load some to picasa. How do you capture all the noise and movement? Tried long exposure shots – they seem a mess – need to improve the technique

Third world travel seems the way to go
Can come unplanned and be like the younger backpackers – easier than I thought

Tried to do laundry by hand. Worked well, but I think it is better to send for laundry

Ipod is great. I am relaxing like I have not for a while. Hope to get some reading done too. Let’s see

Simplicity and hapiness

press here for photos