Monday, March 31
After a good night's sleep I awoke about 7am and could just see the outline of some hills through the fog so I went back to sleep. Got up around nine and watched the morning show. One of the lectures I wanted to hear was on yesterday at the same time as our Meet and Greet so I watched it on the TV. I grew up enjoying musicals and the lecture was on the impact of Rodgers and Hammerstein on musical theatre.
When the shore excursions first came out, I thought I would do the trip to Hanoi but did not book it. I am very glad I didn't because it was an 11 hour tour (it is three hours each way to Hanoi) and I just don't have the stamina I once did. There were no other tours that appealed so I decided that I would walk around, take some pictures, and go back to the ship.
By waiting until 10:30 tours had left and those eager to get ashore had already taken the tender so I could go to deck one and get right on (I was the last one on and then we set off). About five minutes across the bay and we got off on what had once been a ferry boat. On shore there was nothing much but a few hotels. I had seen some interesting buildings from my balcony so I thought I would walk a little along the waterfront and then return.
After walking for awhile I met Lynn (same dinner table) and she said she had been to the market and showed me the beautiful beaded bag she had bought for $4. She said it was about a mile and it was a hot walk (the temperature was forecast for about 77F/25C but the humidity had to be close to 95%). I decided to give it a try.
I walked slowly, took some interesting photos, and watched out for the bugs. Along the water there were some bugs that were about two inches long and swarmed in groups. Ugh!
Finally got to a little town with small stores, cafés, and a huge open-air market. Stall after stall of items made here. Since most had about the same things for sale it was hard to choose from whom to buy. At random I chose one run by a young lady who fanned me while we were negotiating. I ended up purchasing seven items (using the bundling method Frank likes so much on American Pickers) for $42. I wish I had brought more money with me! Hopefully, there will be an opportunity to do more shopping at our stop tomorrow.
Started back and stopped at a little cafe that had umbrella shaded tables and bought an icy can of Coke. Got to talking with a couple from the ship who were at the next table. The cafe owner came over to talk with us (and try to sell other things) and finally asked if we wanted to share a taxi back to the tender for $1 each. Talk about an offer I couldn't refuse!
Came back and had lunch in the Lido and then took my purchases back to the stateroom. Walked around the ship to get some pictures of Ha Long Bay from different viewpoints.
Sat in the World Voyage lounge and worked some on the blog and did a little knitting. Then it was time for trivia. Today's was really hard unlike yesterday's - I only had 7 out of 20 correct.
I finished the dreadful book I had been reading and returned it to the library. I found a Ruth Rendell Inspector Wexford mystery that I had not read. Checked it out and then went up to deck nine to be prepared for sail-away. Started reading my new book and quickly became engrossed in it. Read it until the light went. Tours have been late getting back because the 6:30 sail-away did not take place until 7:45. One of my dinner mates said the long Hanoi tour was two hours late leaving the ship due to immigration problems.
Tonight's show was a Beatles tribute band, Beatles Experience. They played the popular hits of 1962 - 1966. At the end Amanda Reid (the entertainment director) announced we would be late getting into port tomorrow.
the "dock" for the tender
very little traffic
large, modern hotel (we were told that the Chinese like to vacation there)
cell phone store
near the ship
People begging to those in the tender
note the dog on the boat
Smooth sailing until next time!