Good morning Vietnam!

Trip Start Mar 23, 2010
Trip End Feb 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Cat Ba Dream Hotel

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sam: When we last touched base, Lee and I were glued to the couches in the Amman hotel foyer with food poisoning. The 12 hour plane ride that followed that update was a rather harrowing experience. We both spent the entire trip holding our stomachs with one hand and the sick bags with the other. Eventually, we arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam and collapsed into bed for some serious recovery time.

After a good night's sleep and some plain food, we caught up with some Aussie friends, Tamara, Simon, Monique and their 2 year old daughter, Coco. (Lee: Little blonde Coco ended up being the star of the island. The local Vietnamese were very much enamoured by her.)  Another friend from the US (Audrey) also flew in for our trip.  Together, we all travelled to Cat Ba island where we spent approximately two weeks climbing, eating, drinking, swimming, kayaking, riding scooters, having massages and hanging out on a boat in Ha Long Bay.

Vietnam was not on our original itinerary, but when the opportunity arose to revisit this amazing country, we couldn’t say no.  This time around was a very different experience to our first trip. For starters, it was much warmer than last year (even though we were there at exactly the same time of year).  This meant we spent a significant amount of our trip out on the bay, exploring the thousands of limestone karsts and islands. Lee was also fortunate enough to borrow some bolting gear, so this allowed him to establish some new climbs and re-protect some old rusty ones that were no longer climbable.

Lee: Simon is a climbing photographer by trade, and this trip was an opportunity for him to shoot images for his calendars and books. So we were constantly on the lookout for great photo op's. And the results were stunning - some of the most amazing climbing shots. 
Sam: We were also more aware of some of the local scams this year and therefore could avoid getting caught out. Let’s just say that hot water was plentiful this year and that a scooter will get you around town on very little fuel each day! (Lee: 10,000 Dong worth of fuel is all you need. This equates to 50c.)
The food was fabulous again. We regularly feasted on fresh seafood, fruit shakes, wonderful bread (thanks to the new bakery in town), hot noodles, and home made spring rolls.  A culinary highlight was the dinner we ate at a local family’s house.  They had about 20 people over for dinner and one lady cooked about 10 different dishes which were served with the local honey rice wine.  Two shots of this stuff and we were both feeling a little "wobbly"!

Lee: Between climbing, exploring, bolting and doing photoshoots, we didn’t have much downtime in Vietnam, which meant our fortnight here went very quickly. My body felt smashed by the end and we were looking forward to some time to unwind in Hong Kong.
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Dad on

I'm dribbling down my chin watching the climbs you have done. Stretch out every moment now and enjoy.
Love Dad and Robyn

mindy shulak on

Published photographer and drinkers of shots!!!!! That's all I need to know!
Gordon is guiding in the Uintas today. We're having the most bomber winter. Everybody's happy from St. George to Alta.
Cheers you two, and happy holidays.

Lee on

Thanks Mindy, glad you two are doing well!

Mum on

The photos are amazing - and you all look so healthy and well - stay that way and we will see you in 8 days - much love xxx

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