CraSh Williams' Blog

Posts Tagged ‘hanoi’

Yes Hue!

Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on April 28, 2011

Sadly we left Hanoi yesterday evening taking an overnight train to Hue which is almost halfway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in the south. Booking a four berth sleeper we settled in for the thirteen hour train journey which if truth be told was pretty painless though the beds on the train are exactly 5ft 9inches in length – I’m only slightly larger so it did make for a disjointed sleep as not being able to stretch out was a pain.

The contrast between Hanoi and Hue is immense though up and until 1945 Hue was the capital of Vietnam. Situated on the banks of the Perfume River north of which is the historic Citadel inside of which is the Forbidden City (out-of-bounds to everyone bar the Emperor and close Aides.) We went along today and it’s pretty stunning. During the 1968 Tet Offensive the city was also considerably damaged with many lives lost – it’s well worth a stopover, particularly after the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.

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Friggin in the Rigging

Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on April 27, 2011

Following on from my whinge fest – being sat in a harbour for hours and hours, we finally made it aboard the tourist boat – Minh Quang. If truth be told the girls have done well, very well. Our Junk is a 2 berth floating palace which in contrast to the other Junks – carrying  between 16 and 32 passengers plus crew – we’re indeed travelling in style (well done TCT and SSW!) –

Life aboard see’s shades of our recent  Cargo Ship voyage – travelling slowly, barely cause a bow wave, minimal people, the freedom to do as we please and a chance to get to know the crew – though speaking very limited Vietnamese, we’re all on nodding terms!

We asked Duc, our guide about the larger Junks; he told us that they cost about $400US per day, per person – this to us is an astronomical amount, paying so much for so little. Granted, the Junks are large though with that many people, they also look very cramped. The food is supposed to be excellent but given the choice, I’d rather be aboard Minh Quang – of which we paid $125US per person for the whole trip – as previously said, the food is excellent  and we’re not beholden to 30 odd other passengers!

Having been away for the last several months, some of which was aboard the aforementioned ship, I finally got to swim in the sea – it was glorious! As soon as we set sail from Cat Ba, Jamie and I had changed into our swimming costumes and demanded to swim!

Neither of us being put off by the Japanese whaling fleet tailing us (we were safe in the fact that Greenpeace were just behind them) Us two land whales gracefully entered the water – I thought with the grace of Tom Daly though apparently not, it was more akin to a couple of breeze blocks being tossed off a bridge!

Later that evening we anchored up; the crew cooking a fantastic meal of fried fish, baked fish, tofu and several other tasty morsels, we ate well, drank warm white wine before retiring to bed, nicely tired and very happy.

I awoke a little before 6am this morning so took the opportunity to go above deck to snap some phots – it’s really beautiful here, there are several fishermen’s huts all of which are floating around us and numerous limestone cliffs rising from the water. One of the fishermen has some Vietnamese music playing in the background, in a strange way it enhances my morning rather than detracting from the peacefulness of this area.

Again, I’ve started a day with a dip in the ‘oggin – I really could start each day like this, diving off the boat into the emerald green waters. It’s our final morning aboard the Minh Quang, we’re about to have breakfast then we’ll set sail for Halong Way to join our minibus back to Hanoi City.

Tonight we leave Hanoi; we join an overnight train to the Vietnamese city of Hue…

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That’s Life!

Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on April 27, 2011

Whilst growing up one of the things I remember about TV is a consumer/magazine type programme called ‘That’s Life’ which was fronted by Esther Rantzen and an assorted crew of second rate TV journalists / TV personalities. If I remember correctly it used to be on during a Sunday evening and would the type of programme where one minute they’re talking about children being savaged by pit bull terriers to carrots shaped like a penis.

During the late 70’s early 80’s there was a huge hotel boom in Southern Spain – high rise blocks of hotels being built left right and centre. These building works prompted many viewers to write in; complaining that there beautifully advertised hotel, gracing the beach was in actual fact surrounded by three building sites, a coach park and a noisy disco.

Our three star hotel, downtown Cat Ba had all of the above bar the disco!

Shelley awoke early, just before 6am to comment that it was very peaceful and for once had a pleasant night’s sleep. It was at this point that there was huge noise, sounding and feeling  at least 8.4 on the Richter scale – I had visions of tsunami waves descending upon us from the China Seas – with our long awaited journey aboard our Junk passing by our 6th floor window!

Looking out the window, not more than 15 feet from our bedroom window were 5 or 6 builders with pneumatic drills, demolishing the hotel next door. At 6am – it was actually funny rather than annoying, our neighbour Jamie actually thought it was the air conditioning unit!

Now I just need the address for Esther Rantzen so I can send through my letter, photographs and video footage. Oh, and a couple of carrots.

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