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Velocity:Inertia Stories of my Adventures

Halong Bay and tourist traps

VIETNAM | Sunday, 18 October 2015 | Views [215]

I spent from 8am Friday to 4 pm Saturday on an organized tour to Halong Bay, which is considered one of the 7 Natural wonders of the world. I recommend you google pictures real quick for context or else this entry might seem vague at times. Perfume (hostel owner) was very convincing in getting me to go on this, but I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting into.

There were 6 of us on the 3.5 hour bus ride there- all of us whities from English speaking countries. I felt a bit nauseous for some of the way, so that kind of stressed me out, but I had luckily brought some tablets to fix that. We stopped at a couple of tourist shops on the way, and it was wonderful to watch the artists work on tapestries and statues in the first one.

The next shop sold pearls and had a bunch of blown up pictures of united statesian politicians and celebrities on its walls. Now, imagine for a minute that some country was engaged in war with USA 40 years ago and bombed usa multiple times, the way the us did to Vietnam. Do you think the USA tourist shops would have pictures of their world leaders and be catering to the citizens of that country? Even if we had a good relationship to that country, it doesn't happen. So many places in the world cater to westerners, specifically those from the USA, but the US does not reciprocate what it receives. I feel like many us citizens expect the world to revolve around us while paying little attention to the rest of the world and that the education system encourages that.... And it is why so much of the world resents us. I don't know if the US particularly deserves all this coddling and ego inflation... But perhaps the pearls sell better when people are surrounded by pictures of their own leaders? Interesting.

We boarded the boat and were shown to our rooms. They served us lunch. Then we were taken to a place where we climb hundreds of steps up one of the giant rocks to get a scenic view. We went onto the beach at the bottom afterward and swam. That was my favorite part... The water felt amazing and it was a beautiful day.

By the time we arrived back at the boat I was feeling a raging headache coming on and was feeling a bit overwhelmed, so I chose to chill out in my dark room at the bottom deck of the boat rather than kayak, which was the next scheduled thing.

After that, they said we were going to have a cooking class to make our dinners and I needed to pace myself. My headache got worse though and it made me a few minutes late to dinner. There was a guy that knocked on my door a couple of times shouting "cooking class" while I was trying to get dressed and I felt like a child being yelled at by their parents. I wanted to be like, chill out dude! But tried to respond politely that I'd be there in a minute. He persisted in knocking and yelling "cooking class" anyway. It turned out our "cooking class" was just making spring rolls and they prepared the bulk of the food. I was admittedly very relieved, as I was not operating at 100%.

Overall, It wasn't really my style of traveling and being pushed from one activity to the next on a rigid schedule drove up my anxiety at times. It would have been nice if we could have saved the kayaking for the following morning when I was fresh and rested, rather than after hours in the car, tourist shops, boat ride, more boat rides, climbing up steps, and swimming, but In the end Im of course still glad I went. It was great to visit and experience the beauty of this place, and this is pretty much one of the only ways to do it. I've since met people at my new hostel that feel similarly about their experiences.

Anyway, I felt a little better after dinner and hung out with the group and chatted before turning in. In the morning we saw some caves and took fabulous "holiday snaps." (Vacation photos:). It was hot as hades and the bus ride back to Hanoi was so bumpy that one time I flew up and out of my seat for a second before thumping back down. Needless to say, I was glad to get back.

Tags: halong bay, vietnam

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