On the road to Hue

Day XXVIII – April 15

Another early morning, packing up my things again; it’s becoming a routine, and I’m getting better at it every time, it even seems like my bag’s getting lighter. Breakfast and goodbeys again.
On the way back they dropped us at that shopping centre again. I gave in and got myself some sweets. They’re disgusting though.

I’m getting a little itchy about catching my sleeperbus to Hue tonight; it leaves Hanoi at 6pm, or so I’ve been told, so I have a pick up at the hostel at 5.30am.
And though it started out with them telling us we’d arrive at 4, they’ve already stretched it to 5pm. It’s definitely getting tight.

This trip to Halong Bay was cool.
Very touristic though, and I think I expected more of Halong Bay. I’ve seen too many limestone’s on the mainland to be completely stunned by these.
And it is too easy to capture it’s magic on picture, the real deal doesn’t add a terribly big lot to that… Plus the blanket of grey that just wouldn’t go away.
All in all, I’m not sure if I’d recommend it, especially for that price. But I had fun.

[I’m now back about a month, and am still obligated to live extremely low budget as I’ve had next to no income since then, but I seem to have settled well enough back into our pricerange. And I remember I really thougt it was a very expensive trip, 2 days all-in for €45,- but I now realize it really wasn’t that much. So to come back to the recommendation; make sure you set that amount aside in your budget. It ís worth it.]

I jump off the bus around the corner from the hostel, back in bustling Hanoi at 5.35 and rush down the street, panting as I arrive at the reception, where they tell me to sit down and wait a moment. The wait turns out to be 45 minutes.

The guy behind the desk is the guy that was bartending the other day, and with a giddy face he asks me if I had fun with David, making me blush while I tried to be cool about it, and then makes it worse by noticing the hicky that’s still sitting there plumply in my neck.
I sit down behind a computer to check my mail, and find a message from David.
I ran in to him this morning; he got on the exact same boat I’d been on, but there was no time for actual words. Now in this mail he tells me his travel plans have been altered so he won’t be coming after me, and we most likely won’t meet up again.
Behind me I hear a few girls babble and catch something about a boy and a little affair and hear the name David. A very common name… But I’m just going to go ahead and assume this boy really wasn’t as gentleman as he made believe, but in fact was the ladiesman I first made him out to be. Well, whatever. Nothing less than to be expected anyway.
bus ticket
When I’m done at the computer and check again at the desk to make sure I wasn’t forgotten, I get to talking with two Israeli also waiting for their pickup but heading for the opposite direction; Sapa, who try to convince me to come their way.

One of them, Alon, begins: “I have a story I want to tell you,” and ducks down to grab something from his pack. It’s a little photobook. “I took this plastic toy horse from home, and I traded it. I hope to eventually trade to a real horse, to travel my last destination, Mongolia.”
He has some pictures of the guy he traded for a sweater with, and some others, and then with the man that traded to a fishing rod; his last trade. Cool concept right?! Check it out on fromhorse2horse.blogspot.com Hope he makes it!

I realized on the boat I’d forgotten to pack my sarong again when I left here yesterday morning. So I ask if they found anything on that bed I never really used. They didn’t, but offer me one of their towels instead. Isn’t that sweet?

Five minutes before the bus is said to depart the station, a minivan comes to pick us up, and has another stop to pick up some more so we’re properly crammed in the back. Then the driver pulls over, gets out and another one gets in without any passing of words whatsoever.

I think this was the absolute oddest thing that happened during my entire trip.

Two blocks later we stop by the side of the road. Looks nothing like a bus station. But when I ask, the drivers points at a single bus that just pulled over. The others are told to sit and wait for their Sapa bus.
I ask what time we leave and after a lot of effort understand it’ll be another half hour.
So I decide I need a smoke. Sorry David (the German who lid my potentially last cigarette in Vang Vieng)
Oddly enough none of the streetvendors or shops there are selling those. But the next lady I ask, who doesn’t have them on her cart, asks me which brand I want and tells me to wait. She comes back 5 minutes later with two packs, asking only 2000d commission.
Here I am, one little Dutch girl on an odd bus with bunkbeds for seats – luckily I don’t have the size problem the other westerner on this bus does.
Nothing is explained to us. “Just go with it and don’t worry,” I tell myself. Of course it all turns out fine and we’re back on the road about a half hour later and eventually I even fall asleep.

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