A Travellerspoint blog

Homeward bound

27 days, 11 cities, and 11 flights later, we are at the end of our trip throughout Southeast Asia.  We are sitting in the Honk Kong airport waiting for our last, and 12th  flight back home (did I mention yet that I hate flying).  There is a Typhoon here..so hopefully that clears before we take off..eek.  We had an incredible trip and can't believe the month passed so quickly.  I'm not sure if my blogs have been able to describe everything but I'm sure the 1200 pictures will do the trick.  We're grateful that we have been able to do this but we are so excited to come home..thats all we can really talk about now.  Tyler has been a great travel partner...the best..he hasn't stopped making me laugh.  Sure, we ran out of things to talk about sometimes but all in all, I think we did quite well and we didn't really fight either.  We would have killed in the Amazing race!   In summary, We probably won't be eating rice for a while and are looking forward to some formed bowel movements!  Thanks for following us, see you soon!

Posted by tanyatyler 29.07.2011 00:41 Comments (0)

Finger lickin good

Day 24 Halong Bay

This morning we woke up in our junk..and boy that was a much better sleep than in the train.  It was another early morning though, and we had out first asian breakfast they served pho (basically chicken noodle soup)..we prefer regular breakfast.  After that the boat anchored again near a floating fishermans village.  We have seen 2 floating villages already, but this was different in that there truly was not any mainland for hours..there is no solid ground...they were just surrounded by large islands that were nothing more than a large rock.  I'm not sure how they live like this.  We took a small bamboo boat around the village and saw things like the school and fish farms.  I mentioned in an earlier blog that Tyler has pet ever stray dog, but here he managed to literally pet one of the fish...quite the site..and the fish actually seemed to enjoy it.  Anyways we got back to our junk for a little swim around the boat.  Tyler tried to do a backflip off the second floor balcony and faceplanted into the water..twice.  Again we spotted a lurking jellyfish and ended our water adventures.  Our time in Halong Bay was over, and even though we didn't have batteries for our camera we managed to take pictures of then stunning scenery with our phones.  Once we go back to Hanoi we did some last minute souvenir shopping and had our last southeast Asian meal.  I'm slightly ashamed to say it, but with no regret...we finally had our KFC.  And since this is our last day in Vietnam, here is a list of some interesting facts
-this is common throughout Asia, but many of the women  cloth themselves from head to toe (they even wear gloves and face masks) as to protect their skin from the sun, dark skin is a sign of lower class, being a farmer, white skin is the goal
-in Sapa, the minority girls get married between the ages of 14 and 21..after that they are too old for the men (wow I'm lucky Tyler married me even thought I was an old hag..I hope you can read the sarcasm)
- the weather in Vietnam was more hot than Thailand and Cambodia
-KFC does not use the original recipe..not sure why
-there are no McDonalds because  McDonalds wants to import the beef and Vietnam would not let them set up shop unless they used local beef so it was a no go
-you can only take $100 out of the ATM at a time..very inconvenient..they make a killing on the bank fees because you have to withdrawl so often
-Rice is considered a staple, eating in for 3 meals a day..so they use it as a metaphor for a wife.  A wife is there for you like rice is.  Noodles are a treat to be had a few times a week and is like a girlfriend..or mistress.  So if a man says he loves noodles, they take it to mean mistress..and that may not go over well..especially to his wife.  

Posted by tanyatyler 29.07.2011 00:39 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

What is this junk?

Day 23 Halong Bay

I apologize for yesterdays train rant...to top it all off we forgot the camera charger and battery on the train..no more pictures from here on in (thankfully we're almost done anyways).  We got back to Hanoi at 4:30am and we basically had to waste time until 8:00am...its tough to waste time at that time in the morning I must say.   We then took a four hour drive to our last destination, Halong Bay.  Halong Bag is a collection of 3000 little islands off the coast of Vietnam..it's a UNESCO world heritage sight.  We boarded our "junk", which is basically a little cruise ship that looks like a pirate ship and off we went (about 10 cabins with 20 people in total).  The ship served a 9 course lunch when we first got on which was yummy and then anchored near a small island  so we could walk through some caves and grottoes and swim on a small beach.  The water was clear, and luke warm (which I thought was great, Tyler felt it wasn't refreshing enough).  The only thing is that there are jellyfish in the water.  We thought they were joking but they weren't and we were called out of the water when a jellyfish came close to shore..it was cool to see a jellyfish, but it's safe to say our swim was over for the day.  We jumped back on the boat and spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on the sundeck.  Another large dinner was served and at the end of dinner the ship guide announced to everyone that it was our honeymoon.  The captain and crew came out with a cake and flowers, it was a nice thought but slightly embarrassing..what ever to swan towels in your room..maybe even a free bottle of champagne. 

Posted by tanyatyler 29.07.2011 00:37 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

5th Wheel

Day 22 Sapa

We slept in this morning, trying to get as much sleep as we can before we have to get back onto the hellish train again tonight.  We trekked to 3 more villages this afternoon.  Like yesterday, the scenery was beautiful.  It was mostly downhill...some rocky dirt roads but also steep areas of rock.  As we walked down for 3 hours all I kept wondering was how the heck we were going to get back up.  We were followed for a while by a lady trying to sell us stuff, but maybe after an hour she finally left after we convinced her were weren't going to buy anything.  Tyler would just go on long rants about why he didn't want to buy her stuff, all of which she clearly didn't understand..it was funny.  I was pleasantly surprised that there was a ride to bring us back up the mountain after the trek.  We hopped on the overnight train again tonight. It's still a little fresh, but I guess I can somewhat laugh about it know.  Ok so let me explain again what the rooms are like.  There are 4 small bunks, 2 on each side, with a very tiny area in between the two sides..very little room to move around..so four people in total!  Well there was a Vietnamese girl on the top bunk of one side..and a middle-aged Vietnamese couple on the bottom...they snuck an extra person in..that's 5 people with us included!  I was livid.  It was already sweltering in there without adding a fifth body.  When the train staff realized it, they made the woman sign these papers...she probably had to sign to accepts the safety risks in case of a fire..what about us!!  Before we turned the lights out she just sat there and stared at me.  When the lights went out and we were trying to fall asleep her cell phone rang..and she picked it up..and she had a conversation.  After that, her husband kept moaning and shuffling around because it was clearly uncomfortable.  At one point he tried to lay in the area between the two bunks..right beside me...it felt like a joke..like we were on candid camera.  Needless to say we made it through the night and I think it'll be quite awhile before we get back on a night train.

Posted by tanyatyler 26.07.2011 18:04 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

A Rollercoaster Night Train

Day 21- Sapa

Ok so we were on the overnight train (started at 9pm) and got to Sapa this morning at 6am.  We had a cabin on the train and had the top 2 bunks while there were 2 British girls on the lower bunks.  It was quite tight quarters and we just had to sleep in our clothes.  What can I say about the train ride?  I mean I knew it was wasn't going to be good but this was dreadful.  I swear, the train rocked and jerked the whole time.  At some points in the night I wondered if the train had fallen off the tracks.  It literally felt like we were on those kiddie roller coasters for the whole night..trying to sleep...bad morning I must say.  Sapa itself is breathtaking.  We are surrounded by mist mountains covered in rice fields.  This is the region where the "minorities", also called hill tribes and Hmongs live..which is our equivalent to the Natives.  They only have rice crops once per year so for the other 10 months they come into the small city wearing traditional clothing trying to get tourists to buy handicrafts.  About 20 of them will surround a minivan full of tourists, it's like a swarm of bees.  They will follow you, walk behind and beside you trying to get you to buy their stuff.  We managed to lose them all and made our way to two villages, very beautiful, was about a 3 hour trek.  We literally spent the whole afternoon sleeping trying to recuperate from the train ride.  Tomorrow we go to a few more villages so we'll see how that goes.

Posted by tanyatyler 25.07.2011 20:27 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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