Vietnam and Cambodia

13 Feb - 12 Mar 2010

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15 Feb - Hanoi

Not an auspicious start. We had flown out with Malaysian Airlines and Joan's luggage did not arrive. Also the weather was unseasonally over cast and cool.
Here we are starting by visiting the sights of Hanoi at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

16 Feb

We had more chance to explore Ha Noi today. The shops were mainly closed because of the Han festival.
The market traders were setting up to sell foodstuffs in the streets.

This was entertaining with very different food and vegetables from home.

There were quite a lot of locals in the parks and I presume that the traders were more numerous than usual.

17 Feb - Ha Long Bay

On the 16th we had driven to Ha Long Bay and stayed overnight at a hotel there, ready in the morning to board our junk for a trip around Ha Long Bay.

Julie is here talking to Diem, our guide for Vietnam.

During the day we stopped and went ashore, climbing up to caves in one of the islands.
There were plenty of locals doing the same visit. They liked posing for photos - both theirs and ours.

As we climbed up to the caves we had a good view of nearby islands.
In the bay below us our own junk was moored with a little flotilla of sea kayaks attached.

The caves were interesting to see, if a little "jazzed-up".
As we returned to our moored tender there were locals selling fish.

Lunch was eaten on the upper deck of our junk.
The air-conditioned cabins were on the lower deck.

After lunch we went out in the sea kayaks.
It was a pleasant trip around one of the bays, enlived by one capsize.

During the second part of our trip we paddled through a huge slot under the cliffs to the next bay.
Finally we returned to our junk for dinner and a sound nights sleep.

18 Feb - Hanoi

We returned to Ha Noi and had a night in our previous hotel. Joan was finally reunited with her luggage, sent by the airline to the hotel.
In the evening we boarded an overnight train and by the middle of the next day we were in Hue.

19 Feb - Hue

In the afternoon we took a dragon boat ride along the river to the west of Hue to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda.
Also we listened to the monks chanting in prayer.

The buildings were interesting too.

20 Feb

Spent the morning touring the Citadel in Hue.
For lunch we returned to the shop next door to our hotel. This shop also organised the afternoon tour, which was varied and interesting.

During our tour, one event was a demonstration of old country crafts by a little old lady.
Here she is demonstrating a machine for raising water out of the river and then pretending to catch a fish (one of her sandals) with a fish trap.

This demo seems to be one of what Betel nut chewing does to your teeth.

In the early evening we saw Water Puppets.
This is a tradition starting with the flooded rice fields. The operaters move the puppets by rods hidden under the water.

Elsewhere, later in the evening we were dressed up in traditional Vietnamese upper-class clothing and sat down to an ornately-prepared meal.

The food was fascinating to look at - and it tasted good too!

All the while we had musicians and singers performing for us.

21st Feb - Travel to Hoi An

An early start after a pleasant breakfast on the roof.
First stop was to local palace: in very run-down state. Then a small museum with pottery and the like.

Onwards over the Col des Nuages to visit to the Cham Museum of sculptures in Da Nang. Onwards to a short beach stop (China Beach) then the Marble Mountains near Hoi An.
Continued to our destination at Hoi An.

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