So as I am sure that you have all already realized, I have left my amazing home in Mexico and am doing the Asia thing for a while which is great! I currently took a trip around Vietnam with my best friend Kate (who you all know from her appearance on this blog: http://blog.swishsuits.com/open-water-diver-learning/). Kate was working in China and I had just moved back to Thailand and since we had never been to Vietnam we decided to meet up and backpack around.
Let me preface this post with saying that I have never been backpacking before, I have traveled extensively, just never in a backpacking scenario. To help me cope Kate and I came up with a few rules:
rule 1) NO KAROKE (this is an absolute)
rule 2) If I ask you where you are from and you respond "I am a citizen of the world" I get to slap you. . . open hand style. . .
rule 3) If you tell me you practice the religion of Confucianism. . . I also get to slap you.
I met Kate in Hanoi, where we spent two days getting set up and doing a bit of planning for our trip. I loved Vietnam right of the bat. I found that the vibe was more mellow than I expected and very genuine.
From Hanoi we headed to Ha Long Bay which is a series of limestone monolithic islands. We took a boat from the harbor and spent our first day cruising around and taking in the stunning scenery.
We also visited the largest grotto in the area which is Thien Cung grotto. I think that you all know how I feel about caves by now, so I was pumped to go see it! The cave is dry now and no longer dripping water but the decoration was truly spectacular if not slightly marred by the hokey colored lights. I kept on asking if the cave would ever be underwater again and if so when? Which I think confused our guide slightly.
We spent a fun night on the boat diving off the top and going intense squidding (I turned out the be an excellent squidder and provided for the boat). We also spent a night on Cats Ba Island, where we went on a little excursion. Kate and I also bonded strongly over a rat murder. . .
Scene: Intense movement and noise where what looks like a small cat runs by us chased by a dog. Kate, Victoria, and others are sitting in the street watching with curiosity. Group identifies small cat as rat. Dog battles and eventually flings big rat 10 feet into the air where it lands dead in the gutter. Buff Danish boys squeal and jump on tiny plastic chairs which then collapse. Tiny lady walks by, kicks rat, and makes sleeping gesture with hands. . . Kate and Victoria fall over laughing. . . . Yeah it was intense. . .
After Ha Long Bay we went back to Hanoi to take our first 15 hour night bus to Hue. . . which is where this story ends, but do not worry dear Swish reader, there is more to come. . .
Remember, I am a little bit in love with all of you. . . Until next time!