10 days, Vietnam (part 1)

Cat ba island is a vacation spot with few solo travelers. You’ll find mostly families and couples celebrating time off amongst a strip of hotel-restaurant-bar-shops that line the main road of the harbor. The streets stream occasional motorbikes, few cars lumber by.

We stayed at Duc tuan, one of the hotels on the main strip. Eight dollars/person/night for two full beds, a view of the harbor, fridge, tv, and wifi that worked. The staff was friendly but sparse, mostly sleeping across restaurant chairs all day and on cots in the lobby at night.

With plenty of identical places to eat, many westerners settle into the Good Bar where they have COLD DRAFT BEER, occasional beer pong, a pool table, and crowd sourced music. All the kids from Asia Outdoors seem to hangout here and tours conveniently drop off at the doorstep. The owner is incredibly friendly and a few babies are passed around to play with. The women come and go in matching pajamas (I can’t get over the matching pajamas. I saw a woman in Hanoi walking down the street with her boyfriend (?) wearing a rubber ducky pajama top and matching bottoms with heels.)

Also, quite fashionable, are the zip up hoodies with built in face masks for motorbiking. (Pictures to come).

There is, however, a beautiful resort on the island with beach side villas on a beautiful beach. Beds inside and out, a bar, and still walking distance to town.

It wasn’t my favorite. Vietnam hasn’t been yet, and I feel bad about it. I want to love it, and there is still hope, Hoi An and Ho Chi Ming City to come, but as of today… still unsure.

Hanoi is a bustling city with streaming, weaving motorbikes. Beautiful and dangerous.

It’s stressful and hot outside, although we found a lake-type object today which was beautiful and out of traffics way. The people seem pretty happy, cheerful, and laughing. The women have more attitude than anywhere else I’ve been (which I think is a great thing), and seem to be running most of the businesses.

Wu Wei for public transportation here. Control is out of the question, or having any real idea of what’s going on…just flowing along with the crowd, on buses, off buses, on new buses, off new buses, on ferries packed in with the motorbikes and babies, off ferries, on trains, on trains, on trains, on foot, no action, just moving.

We’ve had some great food here, but I’ve felt sick from the food since we got here. Bun Bo, my favorite meal in the country, and tonight, all sorts of street food before our 13 hour train ride ( good decisions).

Tonight we move on down the coast, Hanoi to Hoi An (motion sickness pills to save the night!)

Lots of good things to come.

Check out last night’s shower:

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The lake:

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