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Love, Trust, and a little bit of Wanderlust If we don't try we will never know, in the end we only regret the chances we didn't take.

Ha Long Bay - Day 2

VIETNAM | Friday, 21 April 2017 | Views [333]

The next day we were up about 6 to make sure we were packed and head to breakfast at 7. We were sailing to a pearl farm to see how they operated. We arrived and they whizzed us round pretty fast.
We learnt how natural pearls are created, when something like a grain of sand or piece of shell manages to get inside an oyster shell, the oysters membrane covers it in layers and layers of pearl coating. This creates imperfect pearls which are not desirable for selling, so an artificial technique is used.
They fish for oysters, then crack the shells just enough to get their tools inside without damaging the oyster. They embed a 'nucleus' which is basically a perfectly round ball, so the membrane can layer over the nucleus. They then place the oysters back into the water in their 'pearl farm' and depending on the types of oyster, they are left for 18 months, 3 years or 5 years to develop. Perfectly shaped pearls are used for jewellery and imperfect pearls are ground down to powder and used for cosmetics such as makeup.

Once we finished at the pearl farm we checked out of rooms on the boat and moved to a slightly smaller junk boat. This one sailed for a while then docked where we could chose to kayak again or swim. If you wanted to swim you could also jump of the sides of the boat. I'm not great with heights but so far on this trip I'm attempting to challenge myself so I decided I would jump from the top. The hubby had already leapt of twice making it look effortless, but once you were up there it was a lot higher than expected! But, I did it, and the hubby recorded it for proof (I think he thought I would bail so recording it would mean he could laugh at me for being a wimp at a later date 😂).

We then had another huge lunch before heading to Monkey Island. When we got off the boat the tour guide said,
"Monkeys there and good view to climb there."
And with that, he vanished off somewhere. So we headed up the hill. It was pretty uneven without a particular path so you had to be really careful but the views of the bay and the islands were worth the effort to get up there. Once we got down we headed to the wooden platform where there was a tiny makeshift shop and some toilets behind. It was there we spotted the monkeys, playing in a small area of trees. People where giving them food, some given them bananas and nuts, then we spotted some people feeding them salted nuts and Oreos, not too sure these are what monkeys are supposed to eat.
There were about 4 or 5 smaller baby monkeys and 3, maybe 4 bigger adult monkeys. It was all cute to watch until the monkeys started fighting over the food they were getting. One of the adults ran at a tourist and two others where fighting in the trees above us and nearly fell out. We took some lovely pictures and just as we were about to go to relax on the beach I spotted a baby monkey right by me, I bent down to take a picture and the little cutie grabbed my hand, aww look at him..... then within a split second the little *** had my knuckle in its mouth with its teeth baring down on me! I managed to shake it off but my God was that going to bruise! We decided now was definitely a good time to head to the beach and relax.

This wasn't a monkey island, it was an island where a small group of monkeys came to get food from tourists. It was a shame really, after seeing the lovely creatures playing so naturally when we had been kayaking the day before.
After the eventful afternoon we headed to Cat Ba Island. We docked and were shown to another mini bus, this made 3 stops, your stop depended on your package. The first stop was a hostel, the second was a guesthouse/hostel and the third was where we got off, at a big beautiful hotel. We checked in, got in the lift (a lift 🤗) to our floor and opened the door.
Oh. My. Days.
This hotel room was nothing short of luxury. We had a HUGE double bed, and a single by the window. A window. The window was huge, wall to wall and from the ceiling, half way down the wall. The view was incredible, of the bay and some of the mountain like rocky islands.
Then there was the bathroom.... it was a proper bathroom. With a BATH! We have never been so excited over a hotel before but this was leagues above what we had been staying in since starting our travels. We both had baths, got to dry my hair with the hairdryer in the room, wore a comfy white bath robe and relaxed in the air con!
Evening meal was included in the hotel restaurant and was similar to what we had on the boat. Then we headed out to see the town. It was almost like being in Spain or somewhere similar. Wide open roads and big foot paths, bars and food places, little trinket shops, clothes shops and bright, colourful lights illuminating the bay and the water. We had a lovely night but soon headed back to relax and enjoy the comfy bed as we had to be up again at 6 the next morning!

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