After all that partying we wanted to do ...

Trip Start Jan 12, 2002
Trip End Mar 25, 2002

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, March 10, 2002

After all that partying, we wanted to do roughen things up again.

We took the night train to Hanoi, never again on the hard sleeper, that was a proof of love for Rich and myself, but not a good's night of sleep.
From Hanoi, we went on a trip to the Halong Bay and later to Ba Be National Park.
Halong Bay is a UNESCO world heritage site and known for the steep rocks scattered around the bay. We slept on board of a djunk in the bay and went to an island the next day. There, we did a tough trek through mud and mist, so mad, but really, really good.
In Ba Be, we were the only tourists. It was tough getting there with jeep and boat and hiking in the pouring rain. We stayed with a family in a stilt house, a really genuine experience although I'm usually not that fond of making a zoo out of a home.

I loved Vietnam, such breathtaking sceneries and the people so friendly, so funny. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of years of war, these people are developing fast from a state of destruction to a functioning market economy (never mind that they are ideologically communist) closing up quickly behind their successful neighbours Thailand or Malaysia. They even manage to maintain their ethnological identity and culture.
After many weeks in less developed countries I couldn't get used to old grannies selling cakes in the streets speaking English!
The food was amazing, too. Those raw spring rolls in Hoi An or the Fried Tofu in Miss Minh's and not to forget the French pastries in Dalat ... hm!

In the end, after a few last days in Hanoi's Old Quarter, another few Happy Nights in its bars (actually, only ONE bar), my trip was already over!
I refused a serious offer to be kidnapped and taken to China against my will and said goodbye and see you again soon, very soon indeed. So many tears, but at least half of them were from happyness.
End of Part One.

With special thanks to Remo, Patrick, Chris, Olivier, Avishay. I'll always think of you when I'm listening to Mr Tambourine Man, Beautiful Day, Goooooooooooooooooooood Morning Vietnam! Life is about Happy Days!
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