By the way this 7th day is Tuesday 12th.
As the title suggests, this was the last day of our boat trip around the beautiful Ha Long Bay, and it was very relaxed. We had breakfast at 7.30 today so an extra half hour in bed (doesn’t really matter when you’re fast asleep by half 9!) and today Javi could come sit at the table with us. I moved the eggs away from him though. We both just ate toast which is a funny thing in itself – when we got to the table there were two pieces of bread in the basket so we popped them in the microwave toaster thingy. One of the cabin crew came along with a whole tray of bread which he promptly arranged in a mish mash stack on the microwave shelf – which should normally have two pieces of bread on it that you need to turn over to get nice toast. He literally put about 20 pieces of bread in there and of course when they came out only a corner of each slice was slightly warm hahaa. It did make us chuckle. So really we had bread snd butter for breakfast.
Then we went to another floating fishing village for more kayaking yay! And this time I got to do it with my boyfriend! Also this time we were given kife jackets because we were in a much more open area of water and there was quite a lot of boat traffic. Way to make you feel like a tiny insignificant being, sitting in a kayak in open water with a huge cruise boat passing by pretty close. I surprised myself actually and wasn’t even afraid when we were bouncing across the waves… maybe I’m at peace with the sea finally… we’ll see. Anyway so we had fun kayaking around lots of islands and navigating our way around lots of boats and the fishing village houses. We noticed that of course they’re all sitting on huge blocks of polystyrene – so that explains the chunks of it floating around near the beaches.
Back on the kayak float I was more than happy to get rid of the stinky sticky life jacket and sit in the shade. There was a family running the kayaks and I assume they lived there as through into their quarters you could see huge canvas prints of their wedding and children – really sweet. Well, sweet until the young boy started hitting his little puppy who was enjoying all the attention from us tourists. The pup was probably about 9 weeks old and so cute with big floppy bat ears, of course everyone was going gooey over him, but I think the kid was trying to reassert his ownership and kept picking him up and throwing him away. Then chasing and kicking and slapping seemed to be the game. We all turned away hoping he’d stop without our attention but the pup kept crawling between everyone’s legs for shelter! The Aussie guy Adrian from our original boat put it to an end when the kid had a seven foot long thick bamboo pole and was going to poke the puppy – he just grabbed the pole and stared at the kid. Enough was enough. The puppy did not move from under Adrian’s feet from that moment and the boy didn’t come near. Makes you think though, this kid might live on this tiny floating piece of wood 24/7 so the pup is a good idea for a friend but you don’t know which one to feel more sorry for!
We soon got shepherded back onto the boat and it was time to check out and empty our cabins. I picked up my microfiber towel from the hook in the bathroom and a huge cockroach with extra long antennae started crawling towards my hand (thought if you straight away Batman). My instant reaction was to drop it but then I had to pick it up and shake it but of course the thing had a perfect grab onto the material and in the end I had to kind of scrape the towel on the floor to get it off. Long story short I used the shower to fight the thing off – no joke it had no fear and was seeking me out not running away! Shudder. Sorry bug lovers but I was not having that getting in my bag.
We basically cruised around slowly making our way back to the wharf. We were served lunch at 11am (so strange but we were so ready for it!) and again Javi could join us for some rice and chicken. When we were just pulling up to disembark the tourguide told us the bus coming from Hanoi had broken down and we’d have to wait an hour and a half… argh not what we wanted to hear but we had a bit of spare time before our sleeper train to Sapa at 7pm.
As we all waited in a very hot outside area of a nearby restaurant the tourguide came up to us and said the lady from the tour office was on the phone. We were like oh god now what! She was calling because she had spoken to the bank again and also used a contact she has at the train station to rearrange our tour to Sapa to enable us to collect Javi’s credit card. After a lot of chatting, which was pretty difficult to understand each other on the phone, we lost one night in Sapa (changed to go tomoro rather than tonight) but in the end it was worth getting the card back and maybe a night of rest tonight would be good for Javi to fully recover. So that was that. She got no benefit out of the change, she was just doing it for us to get the card back. We’ve both been blown away by the kindness of the people here – they go more than the extra mile for you.
Eventually our bus arrived to a cheer from the group and Leanne (Batman) and Adrian jumped on first and saved a pair of seats for us at the front. Anal I know but I was not vomiting through sitting at the back of the bus thank you very much. The journey was long and very hot, felt like the fans were blowing hot air on us not cool. We emailed the hotel we’d been in before in Hanoi to see if they had a room for tonight and they said no but they can arrange one somewhere else for us, so we got dropped off there anyway.
Chin, the funny guy (think he’s a manager maybe) got on the phone and told me to go with the porter to see if I like a room in a hotel round the corner. I went out onto the street to see the porter waiting on his motorbike – woohoo I merrily jumped on the back, Chin wrapped my arms round the guys waist and off we went! Sadly it was only a two minute ride but exhilarating! Hanoi has a population of 8million and around 4million bikes – you’ve already read what it’s like to cross the road, this was a totally different experience to be on the back of a bike – so much FUN! We got to another hotel and the lovely guy at reception showed me a room which was fantastic and I agreed to the price. He said the bell boy will go pick up Javi and our luggage – I explained it’s two big rucksacks and two smaller ones but here they were already, laden with all the bags and Javi an the guy on the small bike haha!
After cooling down for ten minutes and enjoying our bigger and better room we then went to our tour lady at her office. We went over the plan again, got our new train tickets and thanked her for her help. She’s such a sweetie. We then went and had a cheeky pizza and collapsed into bed pretty soon after. We bumped into Leanne/Batman who was going for a run (crazy fit too like you!) which was nice to say hi again and then also bumped into the father and sun of one of the Vietnamese French families we’d met on the boats. Small world. Everyone stays in the Old Quarter of Hanoi – it’s the best part.
So tomorrow we will see what happens at the bank and if they try to charge us. We have the day to relax and we have a couple of things we want to book and arrange so just going to chill out. For now, night!