Hanoi landscapeWe get up and eat. Wait in lobby for mini-bus to the Oriental Sails boat in HalongBay. Left about 8:15 a.m. While waiting, tried to use the PC in the lobby.  On the bus ride, we saw rice growing, water buffalo, freeways, lakes, village and more villages.
Had a quick rest stop at tourist “trap” –  W.C. place, gift shop and coffee/tea place.  Cool and cloudy.  Reached Halong Bay City boat ramp.  Great group on bus – three Asian Aussies, a Dutch couple, us, and a couple from Hong Kong and Australia.  One guy from Australiawas working for an NGO in Thailandfor seven-plus years.
We boarded a small junk that held 8 to 10 people.  Had a great lunch – sailed slowly.  Went to the karst caves – got on a tender and went to shore. Many junks and people and sampans.  Had a hike/walk up many stairs into the caverns or caves.  Went through about three chambers.  It’s a UNESCO park. Overall a great place to visit, see and experience.
Back to the junk – sailed slowly – moored.  Ate dinner at 7 p.m.  Great, wonderful, tasty meal  About 7 to 9 courses.  Wonderful presentation.  Carved fruit-vegetable flower designs in a vase to eat.  Later a wonderful lighted carved  pineapple.  Wonderful meal. After meal, we the group did karaoke.  Very spirited.  Very peppy.  Fun.  Just plain funny!  About 11 p.m., the end of the day for the majority.
PS:  We all got to paddle in a canoe or kayak.  Special experience.  Unique and wet  but fun indeed!
– Jack
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