I hope I am never reincarnated as a peach tree...

Trip Start Jan 15, 2011
Trip End Feb 08, 2011

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Let me say that one more time for emphasis..."I hope I am never, ever, ever, reincarnated as a peach tree." Why you may ask? Well, the peach trees here in Vietnam are taking a beating. We started seeing branches (big branches) set up on the side of the road, lashed to the back of motor scooters or on top of cars about two weeks ago. It is part of the Tet celebration as peach trees blossom right about now, so everyone is buying them. The interesting thing that we have gathered from multiple people is that they used to use only small branches, but every year they seem to get bigger and bigger. Poor peach trees. If I have an opportunity, I will add a picture.

So we have just arrived this evening in Hanoi and just in time too as it started raining and would have ruined our climbing in Cat Ba if it had come any sooner. Our bus trip was much better than our last although we did share it with an unlikely fellow passenger. Now, I have shared many a third world bus with many an animal...chickens, goats, sheep, dogs, and even a yearling calf, but until today I have never shared a bus with a live three foot long living fish. In fact the stinking thing got the front seat. He was positioned in a sideways 55 gallon plastic drum with the top cut out. An aerator was attached to a car battery and the whole thing was jerry rigged where we all had to crawl over it to get to our seats. I cannot complain though...while the trip took a little longer, it was a much smoother ride. I think the driver was worried about splashing seawater all over himself.

Climbing in Cat Ba was a lot of fun. Yesterday we climbed at a place called Lien Minh, or Butterfly Valley. It is a nice large wall that has a variety of grades from 5.7 to 5.13. We had the place totally to ourselves. I would definitely recommend a visit. The local (and only) climbing shop, Slo Pony, is outstanding. On Sunday we visited Cat Ba National Park and although we did not see a langur, we did see great views. It was a beautiful hike.

Hope this finds all of you well.

Bry and Deb
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