So I am coming to realize that I am truly horrific at updating this blog. There is just so much happening, I keep forgetting! Here is a brief synopsis since my last update:
-I am now traveling with a wonderful, fun, and loving group of people that I met in Chiang Mai, and with whom I've been traveling for about a month. Three guys and two girls make for amazing adventures, laughs, and a total and complete unawareness of time and place. I have literally no conception of what day it is, what time it is, because I'm so wrapped up in the present and what I'm doing with these wonderful people. I've never been this presently-focused. It's amazing.
-VIETNAM. It's amazing and beautiful. We arrived in Hanoi on the 15th (I think...?) after a tumultuous night bus that was 26 hours and had no bathroom. Can you say uncomfortable? Hanoi was lovely, but freezing, and none of us had the right clothes for the rain and cold. We were pretty uncomfortable and thought that maybe it was just Hanoi that was cold! So after a few days we set down for Halong Bay, a UNESCO world heritage sight and the place where they filmed some James Bond (or so the boys said). It was absolutely stunning and reminded me a lot of Krabi in Thailand, with the rocks jutting out of aqua blue waters. It was, however, still freezing and cold and we were all wet and wearing the same clothes that we'd been wearing for four days. We stayed in this crappy little hotel and all snuggled to try to conserve body heat, but to no avail. We left Halong Bay the next day, literally running away from the cold towards warmer weather and sun. We couldn't get there fast enough.
-We got to Hue, a beautiful little town right smack dab in the middle of Vietnam. It was lovely; we stayed in this beautiful hotel with a balcony overlooking the city. Several western bars and pool tables made the boys very happy, and the sun and picturesque views of the water made Georgie and I happy little clams.We did some touristy things--a river cruise, tours of two tombs of emperors that were stunning, a nationally famous pagoda, etc. and wrapped up our stint in Hue after about two days.
-After Hue, we took a van to Hoi An, which was my favorite city thus far. Situated about three hours south of Hue, it is a tiny, quaint ,town covered in multi-colored lanterns that light up the skyline at night. We rented bicycles, spent a day at the beach, biked around the city, ate lots of food from the best bakery in southeast asia, and went to My Son--another UNESCO sight famed for its 4th century ruins that were once the central feature of the Champa people. I got some amazing pictures (trying to upload them now...the Champa people were Hindu and thus there were some beautiful figures of the Hindu gods dotting the lush green hills that lined the various brick temples). I don't know whether My Son was the highlight of the third day or if the motorcycles we rented were, but either way, it was definitely one of the best experiences I've had on this trip. I hired a driver because I was too scared to motorbike myself (the drivers in Vietnam are CRAZY), and had a blast.
-After three nights in Hoi An (I could have stayed forever), we are now in Nha Trang, a beach town on the coast that is famed in Vietnam for its sunbathing and surfing. It's again been cloudy and rainy (Georgie is convinced she brings the rain), but we've made the most of it and haven't let the weather cloud our fun. Our friend Steve had his birthday yesterday, which culminated in a cake throwing fight and massive buckets of alcohol.
Thats it for now--I'm off to grab dinner before steve and sophie have to head off again, and then it'll be the four of us (Georgie, Dewi, Olly, and me) until georgie's cousin meets us in a week in Cambodia. I will hopefully write more before then!
Sending lots of love from Vietnam,