Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December Holiday - Wednesday: Ha Long Bay

Having confined the long trousers to the back of the wardrobe and the sun-tan cream to the front, we were surprised to wake up to a wet and grey morning here in Ha Long Bay.

However, the day was improved significantly by the news via email that Ann has officially been offered the job she was chasing. A quick email to formally accept her new venture will now set the wheels in motion, and by the new year, Ann will be back into full-time employment.

I digress - back tour arrival into Ha Long Bay. As the morning progressed, the weather didn’t brighten-up any, so we thought we’d go ashore anyway. The only other option was to taken the three-hour (!!) coach journey into Hanoi where we’d heard that the roads were poor and the journey could sometimes stretch to four hours. Definitely wiser, in our view, to take the short Tender journey into the Bay area.
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On arrival, it was a short walk into the main drag - the first thing we noticed was the  lovely beaches but the complete absence of people (apart from the hustlers at the quayside). Where was everybody? Even the mopeds were conspicuous by their absence. There was a four-lane road stretching in front of us, left-to-right, and hardly anything on it! It was all very strange as it felt like a Brit Seaside resort OUT of season.
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Turning left, we took a short walk along the pavement to see if we would discover anything of interest. The Cafes all looked closed and there was a deserted theme-park, gently decaying - it all looked very sad. After about 20 minutes we realised that only building of interest was the Novotel :(, and so we turned round and headed back towards the pickup point.
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On a positive note, we did see the occasional local juggling their wares from shoulder to shoulder, and also a covered outside market full of authentic fakes of every luxury brand going. We had a quick look round, but the place lacked any atmosphere because this was pretty much deserted as well!

Disappointed, we headed back on board for a cuppa. We spent the rest of the afternoon with our feet-up in the Library.

We’re at sea tomorrow, and then it’s Hong Kong for the final leg of our holiday.