Wednesday, May 12, 2010

cruise halong

things i did in halong bay
  • ate squid, shrimp, crab, scallops, and fish caught fresh fromt he waters on which i sailed.  it doesn't get any tastier than that.
  • on the topic of food, i ate all my meals with a chinese family who were wonderfully pleasant.  my western manners had to take a back seat amongst all the slurping, chewing, and burping though.
  • more with the food (it really was very memorable!), our chef created table decorations out of food each night that we were encouraged to take photos of.
  • i sipped countless iced coffees and halida and tiger beers on the top deck of our boat, the lagoon explorer.
  • visited a photogenic fishing village of 40 families and 150 people who live, work, go to school, and play on the water.
  • when i asked why there were so many dogs in the floating village and if they were for protection, the guide told me that they were pets and 'sometimes for eating.'  well, of course, thinks the silly white girl.
  • had a great guide (clad in his Ramani shirt) who wasn't pushy, wasn't trying to be my friend, and who studied tourism at the uni in hanoi.  very professional.
  • kayaked amongst the karsts and had a few thoughts of being all absolutely alone in the bay and how rare you get to have that experience.  i wasn't panicked or worried, just calm.
  • took a tonne of photos.  even took my camera off the green idiot box setting and played around with what i learned in my photography course.
  • thought and thought and thought and managed to set some goals for my future.  i've already set some pretty concrete goals for my 29th year, but i really didn't know where i wanted to be in the future.  i am still not 100% sure, but i have a better idea.
  • got a titch of a sunburn on my shoulders and legs.  i broke the cardinal skin care rule - put sunscreen on even if it is overcast!
  • slept soundly for 2 nights in my cabin as the gentle rocking kept me asleep and i woke up to the birdsong outside my open cabin window.
  • i learned and observed how squid are caught and touched them when they were still alive to watch them release their ink.
  • did i mention the food?!  my favs were the shrimp, tomato, and mushroom soup, the egg fried rice, the fish, the BBQed shrimp, and the pumpkin soup.  oh, and the crab, which the waitor needed to help me with as he expertly ripped the shell off it in one fluid motion.  i'm not sure if this is typical vietnamese cuisin, but my suspicion is that it is luxury vietnamese food because i can't imagine anyone eating that amount of protein unless you've signed up to the atkins philosophy of weight loss (and heart disease).
  • collected fabulous shells, much larger than i've seen elsewhere.  i rinsed them in my bathroom sink to make sure i'm not bringing any critters back with me.
  • crawled around a cave where 'foreigners' had broken off stalagtites (or mites?) to make into decorations to sell before the area was declared a UNESCO world heritage site, but the cave was still pretty neat and outside there were wild orchids growing and friendly dogs that i couldn't imagine eating!


k said...

I bet they only eat the one-eyed dogs ;-)

The whole thing (minus the dog eating) sounds delightful. I want some of that seafood right now...

La Cabeza Grande said...

Amazing travelogue! Ever considered being a travel writer - in addition to your humanitarian activism? Two birds, one stone so to speak.

lu said...

oh, i would love to be paid to write for fun! i do some copywriting, but it just isn't the same...