who ... moi?

a social butterfly: scared of much, but not of many. never lets the truth get in the way of a good story. not a fan of acronyms, snakes and angelina jolie. a HUGE fan of Fathead.

this blog is black for ENERGY-SAVING reasons.

thanks for your understanding.
if it's too dark, put your glasses on old one.

Monday, July 12, 2010

ha long

on the first day of the seventh month, we climbed aboard a bus heading for one of unesco's world heritage sites, ha long bay.  we were dropped off in the harbor of ha long city, where we stepped onto the deck of an old wooden river boat ("junk") - the vessel which would carry us across the waters of the surrounding bays.

admittedly the junk was not the best on the bay - nothing compared to some of the flashy floating mansions we came across.  then again, with its top-storey sundeck, social dining-cum-bar area and cozy cabins for two it was all we needed and wanted. that and we didn't have the wood lice that the junk next door did.

the cruise began with a floating tour of some of the outcropping limestone karsts that scatter the bay.  it truly is a breathtaking part of the world, and once you're away from the other tourists, each seeking to "discover" this piece of paradise themselves - it is silent, untouched ... just perfect. 

ha long's total area is 1,553km2 and boasts a collection of 1,960 islets that scatter throughout the bay. over 500 million years of weather and wear have shaped these limestone towers into intriguing formations - and left them covered in tropical jungles.

several hours passed as we drifted through the maze, but if felt like "suddenly" we were docked at one of the larger islets.  here we walked a short, yet steep trail into the (aptly-named) "surprising or amazing cave".  very similar to the cango caves, yet equally as impressive - these caves just went on and on. 

the ceilings were so beautifully crafted through time that they looked as though they had been hand-plastered with a generous amount of the old polyfiller.

our guide, tsang (but call him "captain jack sparrow"),  spent much of the time using a laser pointer to show us things he "saw" in the rock formations.  these shapes weren't actually there, mind you - there really wasn't a rock depicting "king kong holding up the ceiling of the cave whilst munching on a bag of pretzels".  but we let him tell us it was.

after the caves, we did some kayaking around the floating villages - an adventure spent largely with Fathead steering us from behind, and me "backseat" driving about how not to do it, and in which direction we should be going.  it was a specially-designed test to see how long Fathead could last before klapping me over the head with his paddle and making my disappearance look like an accident.

in my defense, there were hundreds of other junks moving in and around the harbor and docking ports of the floating village and then tiny, little, hard-to-see, easy-to-flatten us in our kayak of two. and we live to tell the tale. so there.

back on the junk Fathead joined some of the others in leaping off the second and third level decks, into the jellyfish-infested pea soup below. 

with the swimming done, everyone drip-dried themselves on the sundeck whilst we waited for our on-board feast.  as the sun set behind ha long bay, we had dinner and drinks, swapping travel tips with the others in our group.

though captain jack (bless his fish net socks) tried to coax the group into a little late-night karaoke, the party poopers were having none of it - so by 9pm we were in bed, listening to the silence - bar the faint lapping sound of the bay against the boat.

it was heaven.

1 comment:

  1. oh my gosh!! I cannot wait to visit these places! I am soooo jealous! Have I already said that? Probably.