Styling Librarian Hong Kong Week Update Week 24 The Vietnam Edition
Hello to the end of Winter Break! We’ve enjoyed Hong Kong and a Vietnam trip for the holidays! This is a SPECIAL EDITION: VIETNAM: Have you ever intimidated yourself into complete distraction? Raised your expectations so that you dread and avoid a task rather than tackle it? That is how I felt about this post. Not sure why beyond the fact that there is just way too much to share in one post. So I will break it into chunks, reasonable chunks.
After we visited the bridge, we agreed to visit the Military Museum, oops, folks, another tip: if visiting Hanoi, know that Monday’s aren’t the best day to visit because most museums are closed. Our patient guide was so disappointed!
Perfect Spy – The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An Time Magazine Reporter & Vietnamese Communist Agent by Larry Berman. I am part way into the book, pretty fascinating but dense, the plane back to Hong Kong didn’t yield to concentration so instead I listened to my audiobook. (There was a cute little girl kicking my seat nonstop the whole way back, figured it was better than crying!)
So, we pretty much went with the itinerary that is on the link above, here is our reflection for the three days: I’ve a pretty limited palate in the past but on this ship I enjoyed trying out jellyfish, squid, goose, mussel, and many things I normally wouldn’t approach. Figured, if not now, when? We started out with a delicious buffet lunch and then went to Surprise Cave which is incredibly large and overwhelming.
For those who know me well, there were 110 steps to get to the cave and then loads of steps back down, so glad my knees are happy with me lately!
After wandering through the cave, we settled back on the ship and it brought us to Ti Top Island where I stayed on board and read a fantastic book, What Came from the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt- review tomorrow, and my husband and son went swimming. Husband’s report: rocky, painful sand and really cold water. Son’s report: really cold with litter that made him sad. But they did have a blast nonetheless. When they returned, warmed up and settled back in, we headed to see a cooking demonstration and actually both volunteered to try our hands at making traditional Vietnamese salad rolls. Squid fishing was next on the agenda after dinner, no squid were caught. Honestly, there were many other options after this but we decided to call it a night and all three headed back and read our books til we crashed.
Day Three: Vietnam: Still on the cruise boat:
Day two of the cruise was P-A-C-K-E-D with activity. First there was a delicious breakfast, then we hopped on a day boat – Paradise Explorer- to Cat Ba Island, highly recommended. We took a motorbike into the village and then hiked into Cat Ba National Park.
Then after cycling back, we returned to the Explorer and went to Dark Cave & Light Cave area for a kayak adventure. I’ve mentioned I’m not keen on being on the water, I’ll have you know, I went on a two person kayak by myself and paddled around for 30 minutes before quickly returning to the Explorer and hopping back on board. (It took me over 30 minutes to stop trembling though.) My husband and son went and kayaked through a few different caves and enjoyed seeing spider monkeys along the way. There was a very pretty lunch on the day ship but not really appropriate for kids so we really enjoyed the dinner that evening…
Day Four: Vietnam: Wrapping up time on the cruise boat:
Day three on the boat was very quick. I got up really early and tried out Tai Chi (loved it, really miss yoga) and then had a quick pastry treat and hopped on a little boat to go visit a lagoon at Luon Cave on a large rowing boat. Gorgeous to be rowed through a cave and into a lagoon, we were supposed to see monkeys there but they must have been asleep! Then we had a large breakfast and headed back to Tuan Chau Island.
We rode in a private car on the way to our boat and back again. Our driver was again very fast and honestly, I held my breath and closed my eyes many times along the way. We stopped on the way back at a commercialized, tourist trap with an enormous building packed with whatever tourist item you can imagine buying. We were a little overwhelmed and not so excited about the drop off and grabbed a stone dragon for our son and some postcards. We do highly recommend taking a bus or car with driver versus driving yourself, I saw five police stops along the three hour drive where foreign drivers were pulled over, our driver waved to the police each time and drove by. He told me that the police look for ways to charge foreign drivers more money…
After we were returned to Hanoi, we made the mistake of agreeing to ride on a pedicab and forgot to negotiate cost first (note friends- do not do this without negotiations first!!) and forced them to stop and drop us off at Pepperoni’s Restaurant (been there 20 years, began in Hong Kong) and enjoyed a little pizza and pasta after dealing with the pedicab price gouging negotiation. We hopped in a cab that the restaurant called for us (Note, be careful of cabs! You don’t want to take the wrong one, they’ll bring you to places you don’t want. Three colors on the cab is your signal that you’re getting on a great one besides having a meter box with acrylic around it, other cabs have meters that the driver can tweak and add extra costs to…) The cab took us to the airport and we discovered that we weren’t allowed to check in until only two hours before – please beware of this friends, your poor children will go a little batty stuck at a check in area with barely any place to settle and hardly any food choices. Then we finally zipped back to Hong Kong.
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Here are past posts on Hong Kong Transitions through the weeks: I bounce between professional and personal reflections.
Week 23: Styling Librarian Hong Kong Update Week 23
Week 22: Styling Librarian Hong Kong Update Week 22
Week 21: Styling Librarian: Hong Kong Update Week 21
Week 20: Styling Librarian: Hong Kong Update Week 20
Week 19: Styling Librarian: Hong Kong Update Week 19
Week 18: Styling Librarian Hong Kong Update Week 18
Week 17: Styling Librarian: Hong Kong Update: Week 17
Week 16: Styling Librarian: Hong Kong Transition: Week 16 Update
Week 15: Styling Librarian: Hong Kong Transition: Week 15 Update
Week 14: Styling Librarian: Hong Kong Transition: Week 14 The Thailand Edition
Week 13: http://thestylinglibrarian.com/2012/10/22/styling-librarian-hong-kong-transition-week-13/
Week 12: Hong Kong Transition: Week 12
Week 11: Styling Librarian: Hong Kong Transition: Week 11
Week 10: http://thestylinglibrarian.com/2012/10/02/styling-librarian-hong-kong-transition-week-10/
Week 9: http://thestylinglibrarian.com/2012/09/23/styling-librarian-hong-kong-transition-week-9/
Week 8: http://thestylinglibrarian.com/2012/09/17/styling-librarian-hong-kong-transition-week-8/
Week 7: http://thestylinglibrarian.com/2012/09/09/styling-librarian-hong-kong-transition-week-7/
Week 6: http://thestylinglibrarian.com/2012/09/02/styling-librarian-hong-kong-transition-week-6/
Week 5: http://thestylinglibrarian.com/2012/08/26/styling-librarian-hong-kong-transition-update-week-5/
Week 4: http://thestylinglibrarian.com/2012/08/19/styling-librarian-hong-kong-transition-week-4-update/
Week 3: http://thestylinglibrarian.com/2012/08/13/styling-librarian-hong-kong-move-update-week-3/
Week 2: http://thestylinglibrarian.com/2012/08/03/styling-librarian-hong-kong-transition-positives-and-negatives-week-2-update/
Week 1: http://thestylinglibrarian.com/2012/07/27/styling-librarian-post-about-hong-kong-move/