I know that we have no right to complain when all of our friends at home are digging their cars out from beneath 3 feet of snow on a daily basis, but we weren't at all prepared for the change. Each day we wore almost all of our clean clothes. I should note that the term 'clean' is being applied more loosely as time goes on.
The island itself is quite lovely, home to immense biodiversity and a rich geological history. The entire region is smattered with limestone karst, remnants of ancient coral beds crushed and squeezed together over millions of years. We explored karst islands by kayak the as our first activity, four hours of paddling the cold paradise.
|The sand on the many beaches is made broken coral. It is also what makes up the limestone cliffs (after a little processing).|
|Jevin kayaking around one of the many islets|
|View from the best seat in the house, the back of a kayak|
Our base for adventure, Cat Ba Town, was composed of two streets that ran parallel to a small harbour. The street facing the water was only hotels and restaurants (terrible terrible restaurants) and the only Vietnamese people we really saw there were selling things and trying to get us to climb on the back of their motorcycles (harmless, I can assure you). The merchants here lack the tact of their Thai and Lao contemporaries. Instead of trying to be nice and hospitable, they point randomly to their wares, expecting money to just fall out of your pockets (which it sometimes does) or yell "Buy something! Buy something!" at you as you walk by, trying to ignore.
But, as cold as it seemed and as rude as the locals were, you'd be hard pressed to find as good a view for $6/night anywhere else in the world...
|View from Cat Ba Town Hotel Room|
|Working the fields|
|View from a watchtower high up in the national park|
We've been here for only a few hours and we've already run into multiple groups of people we have known from the last few weeks of our travels. It's amazing how you keep bumping into the same people. We're going to get together for drinks tonight with a trio of girls from Iceland and Joel from New York. Should be fun!
But now, SUSHI !!!!!!