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Ha Long, Hanoi and Home

Our Ha Long Bay Peony Cruise experience included becoming relaxed in a van, with 12 other Westerners traveling from Ninh Binh, because we thought we were all set for being dropped off at the dock where we would be whisked away on a cruise ship. After three hours, the van driver pulled over to the side of the road and began gesturing for us to get out of the van. We still had about 30 minutes to go, so we all sat frozen until the van driver turned red, yelled at us in Vietnamese, and gestured much more emphatically. There were other vans along the side of the road. Van drivers spoke in Vietnamese. Tourists were confused and a little panicked. I watched my suitcase come out of the back of the van, and then go back into the van before I grabbed it and went around to the different non-English speaking drivers showing them our cruise reservation on my phone. Miraculously, we made it to the dock with our luggage and it was smooth sailing from there.

On our three-day cruise through Ha Long Bay, a limestone paradise with 2000 islands, they fed us way too much and then helped us burn a few calories. First, we went for an island bike ride that included a fish massage. In the photo, hundreds of little fish are gently nibbling at my feet. Although Piranha crossed my mind, I trusted the tour guide and discovered that the biggest challenge was overcoming being ticklish.

Next, we went for a cave hike on Ca Ba Island. According to local legend, once upon a time, all women on the island had to take care of homes, logistics, and transportation while all the men were off fighting wars defending the island. At this time, the island was called ‘Các Bà’ or simply ‘Women’ island.

This stalagmite is shaped like a woman sitting and holding/making something.

If you are ever in Hanoi you may want to think about indulging in a few passions such as the Madam Hien restaurant. Traditional Vietnamese and French-influenced food in an appealing historic atmosphere with the nicest staff was a treat.

Paul liked the store with both modern guitars and traditional instruments. I loved learning from kind young women about how to make traditional tea. I bought the clay teapot. It does make a difference, if you use it correctly.

Thanks for the memories Vietnam.

Below is a screenshot of a family chat. Right now I'm happy to be home where I can have loved one's over for tea.

Stay tuned. Vietnam videos are still being edited.

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This trip gets better and better. Welcome back to crazyland- USA.

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Thanks! Vietnam was fun and a great experience. Now we're just appreciating being home.

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