I count my blessings a lot these days. I have so much to be grateful for.
What I love about travel the most is it makes you take your head out of your own arse.
People get stuck in their little bubbles. They fool themselves into believing that they are hard done by.
Here's a fact.
If you're a living in a first world country with clean water, electricity, a bed and a roof over your head. You are fucking living the dream.
Vegetarianism is a first world luxury. Ranting on about 'privilege' and 'feminist issues' is a first world luxury. Eating uncontaminated food is a first world luxury.
I have seen people eating food next to feces.
I've seen shop owners who sleep behind their counters on a thin mattress with no pillow.
I've seen women from the villages carrying massive loads of fruits, nuts, flowers and souvenirs on their bodies and bikes -- in the big cities here, just so they can go home and feed their kids.
I am running out of days.
But my heart is so full.
I'm going to be honest with you. I didn't even know Hai Phong existed until last week,
I have NOT seen one other westerner! It's fantastic.
Crossing the road is a death wish.
Having a convo is impossible.
I've started using my phone for translations.
Hai Phong would have to be my fave place thus far -- culturally, I mean.
I'm absorbing it all.
Not much to say.
But much to take in.
I am very happy.
I feel a great sadness to be leaving Halong Bay. I haven't even scratched the surface yet. I only have over a month in Vietnam in total. I need a good six months here, to really get a feel of the place...
I will be back later in the year...there is so much more to see, to feel, to explore...and on my next trip, I will backpack through Laos and Cambodia as well.
This trip has been luxurious. But it's time to get dirty and feel Vietnam at a more base level.
I never made the bus this morning... I am sitting in the lobby of hotel as I write this. A private car is coming to take me to Hai Phong. And I'm drinking MORE margaritas...haha
The guy is here. Seeya!! x
Yesterday arvo, I walked around the city and came to this cafe where lots of locals were sitting but nobody could speak a word of English.
I could read the word 'pizza' and knew 'bo' meant beef. Took a punt, hoping I wouldn't get food poisoning for my gamble. But it was hot and I'd walked for hours. I was hungry!
An uncooked pizza base was delivered to my table topped with cheese, spaghetti bolognese and sprinkled with corn. It tasted fine though and did the job!
I was so exhausted from all the walking, I passed out for two hours in the afternoon when I got back to the hotel. I'm a fucking grandma now!
The evening started in the rooftop bar with an incredible sunset followed by long island teas, pina coladas, rice wine and a bottle of bordeaux.
I found a milk bar that sells wine from France. Hallelujah! The wine in Vietnam is shite, even on airlines. You would think with tourism, there would be a demand for it.
The Vietnamese drink beer and many don't even know how to open a bottle of wine -- not even in 5 star hotels!!!!
But dinner was the fucking best! Tried out a new restaurant near the hotel -- had oysters, octopus, lobster, seabass, prawns and the most delicious seafood spring rolls, I have EVER tasted.
Tonight is my last night in Halong Bay . I have been here for over a week (including the cruise) I didn't intend to stay this long but I'm so glad I did.
Tomorrow, I get on a bus to Hai Phong, the economic capital of Northern Vietnam. Apparently it takes two hours. Should be an experience...
I'm really disappointed in the food in Nam this time around. Perhaps I've been unlucky.
The last time I visited Nam, I loved the food and I certainly love the Viet cuisine in Melbourne.
But the food poisoning has been affecting me for three weeks, which puts me off eating at all.
For some reason my body can stomach cocktails, which as an aspiring alcoholic -- makes perfect sense. :-)
I really want to go to the theme park in Halong and ride the rollercoaster and cable car. Hopefully tonight or tomorrow.
I was meant to be in Hoi An or Hue right now...
But I'm stalling...
As a born and bred Perth girl, let me say, Vietnam is fucking HOT!!
Well, I have been crusing Halong Bay for three days. Anchored at Coconut Island at night time.
They stopped at different places for those who wanted to do sight-seeing stuff like caves, pearls and kayaking. I opted out of all sight-seeing activities. I have no interest.
This is not an educational tour. This is a relaxing holiday.
My biggest form of exercise, apart from masturbation, was walking from my bed to my sun lounge. It's a fucking skill!
Well, I am off the ship now and was going to hurry to get to Da Nang, Hoi An, Sapa and Hue.
But you know what? I can't be fucked!
So I'm in a hotel with a nice pool and a mini bar in the room. There's a rooftop bar here too. I might just chill out for a few days.
Since 2011, there's always been a deadline, a rehearsal, a class, a bill to pay or a goal to achieve.
I have no commitments. Nowhere to be. No deadlines. No social media accounts to check.
I am FREE. x
Last year I was in Inverness, Scotland for a friend's wedding.
And I heard a lot about the Lochness Monster, referred to by locals as the Nessie Monster.
There was a monster in my bath tub in Halong Bay on the cruise.
Who knew that Nam had a Nessie too?
The last two days have been really hard. I've had food poisoning and a bad fever. I had forgotten that travel can often be an ordeal. Ask me about my travels to Greece one day... (Fuck!!).
I was unable to leave the hotel room on my third day in Hanoi because I was so unwell. The day before in the afternoon, I became so disorientated walking through the city. I felt that I was going to pass out.
A lovely owner of a shop, pulled out a milk crate for me to sit on and gave me a lemon tea. I was white as a ghost.
It takes over 3 hours to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay and you can't do it by plane. The only options are public bus, private shuttle bus or private car. I chose private car for $90 US. Can you imagine having to deal with all the bullshit on a bus when you're sick as a dog?
As lovely as the driver was and as comfortable as the car was. It was the most uncomfortable three hours. When I got to the beautiful hotel in Halong Bay, the fever really kicked in and I've been in bed ever since.
It's now 6am here and thankfully my temperature has gone down because, I'm off on my luxury cruise today for 3 days. (with a butler) Hobson? :-)
It's what I have been looking forward to most on my holiday. And I was so disappointed that I was going to be sick for it... But perhaps, I'll scrape through okay.... positive thoughts....positive thoughts....
Leave at lunch time. <3 xx
Arrived in Hanoi late yesterday afternoon.
Was fucked. Didn't do much.
Hotel certainly not the one that was advertised online but will do for a few days.
Checked out the Women's Museum today. What a great celebration of female military who are overlooked.
Headed to the Mojito Bar for some incredibly STRONG cocktails tonight. I can recommend the Charlie Chaplins!
Back in the hotel now.
Vanessa de Largie loves to travel and go on adventures...