10.18.08: After a very loooong trip, we made it to Hanoi. It is everything I thought it would be plus many more motor bikes…the food we’ve had so far has been incredible….the fresh spring rolls are all DIY, the Bia Hoi beer is wheaty and tasty and all the chicken and sea food has been super fresh, not oily at all. Our hotel is great too; we are having dinner at the Green Tangerine tonight- it’s in a 1920 French house. We just got here, but I already dont want to leave!!
10.21.08: We arrived in Hoi An last night after a long day of travel back from incredible Halong Bay which has 1,069 limestone islands dotted over miles of calm green water. We spent one night on a boat with a group of five others (Aussies + 1 Spanish) touring the karst islands, swimming, kayaking through the bays, hiking a cave and of course, eating…we then hopped on our own private junk with our wonderful guide, Moon, the captian, a chef and 2 crew mates. We went even further in among all the islands and bays, swam and had lunch on a deserted beach, then traveled to one of the biggest islands, Cat Ba, and hiked about an hour to the little rice farming village of Viet Hai…a peaceful little place below a heavily forrested valley with Rice paddies, little mud huts and tiled houses, dogs, chickens, pigs, ox and tons of really cute little kids. We stopped at a local family’s house, ate bananas, palmillo fruit and had played with the little kids there.
Some of the local men gave us a ride back through the forrest on their motorbikes. We left yesterday morning, sailed back, drove to Hanoi, went straight to the airport and flew south on an hour long flight to Danang. We then took a taxi about 30 minutes to Hoi An, one of the only ancient towns that wasn’t destroyed in one of the many wars. Our hotel here is gorgeous…our room has a balcony ovrelooking a rice paddy, and we had dinner on the river that runs through town…it’s lit with paper lanterns and has restaurants and shops running along it…beautiful. This town is know for their tailors- some 500! We are going to go see if we have time to get some clothes made while we’re here. We go back to Danang tomorrow evening, take a train to Hue (which is supposed to be an incredibly scenic ride) and then fly back up to Hanoi where we have some day trips planned before we head out Saturday. So far, the people have been so kind and friendly, the food, fresh and delicious and the sights just amazing.