Day #2 of Ha Long Bay

Trip Start Feb 17, 2013
Trip End Mar 21, 2013

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

This morning started off at 6:30 with Tai Chi.  Or, so I heard.  I didn't meet any one at breakfast that was up that early.  And, really, if you are in an air conditioned room, in a queen bed, under a big duvet, on a gently rocking boat, who in the hell is going to be up at 6:30 if you have reasonable bladder control!  Please, we are on vacation.  Getting out of bed for breakfast was an effort.

What better way to start the day than with a good bowl of beef noodle soup, Vietnamese style, and a cup of coffee that will put you on a caffeine high for the rest of the day?  Our first activity of the day was a tour to a cave of some sort.  Apparently God threw in a cave when He built Halong Bay.  However, His only purpose, it seems, was to provide a place for the Vietnamese to try to sell you shit -- by water and by land.  Leading by example, (and with foreknowledge by Trip Advisor)  we, once again, decided to avoid the touts and relax on the boat.  This time there were a number of our followers of the "Gospel of Relaxation."  We relaxed, drank coffee on the top deck, and enjoyed the boat traffic.  Those returning voyagers, if they had prior cave experience, pronounced the cave to be overrated, over crowded, and forgettable.  Dayna and I have been preaching the Gospel of Relaxation for 30 days now but we just can't get to everyone.

On our way back to port, we had a cooking class where we could learn how to make spring rolls. If you remember, Dayna and I are expert egg rollers from our Hoi An days so I acted as the school photographer and took pictures with other people's cameras as they dirtied their hands rolling rolls.  

Today's lunch was, again, great and that put us back in port by noon.  Our reward, another four hour bus ride.  No good deed goes unpunished!  At least we were dropped off in the order we were picked up, so we were first off!  Once again, back to our little hotel with the friendly staff.

It is hard not to like the Vietnamese people.  They are, without exception, the friendliest people you would ever likely meet. They are also the hardest working people you would ever likely meet, except for the various government sloths who are, thankfully, disinterested and lazy, because if they were hard workers this country would be even more screwed up than it already is.  The government already spends 50% of its time screwing its fellow citizens and the other 50% of its time trying to figure out how to line its pockets through graft and influence peddling.  The last 50% of its time is spent starting worthwhile construction projects that never seem to get finished and the final 50% of the time is spent putting up bill boards espousing the greatness of the party. (Dayna's comment:  50% + 50% + 50% + 50% = 100% = Vietnamese mathematics!)  Through it all, the Vietnamese people smile and go out of their way to be nice, even to Americans, even though we spent 10 years bombing the shit out of them.  How can you not love these people?!

After 30 days, we do!  But, we are ready to go home.  The Great Satan is starting to look pretty good.  There will be a few more blogs.  We plan to write one more to get us back to our own house, bed, kids and dogs.  We will also write a couple more entries over the next week or two with our final impressions and maybe one with a list of suggestions, dos and don'ts, hits and misses.  "We'll see," said the sage.
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