24.03.2009 - 24.03.2009
Sinh Cafe said they will come and pick me up between 7:45 a.m. - 8:15 a.m., so I woke up an hour early to get some walk and breakfast. As in the previous two days, the sky was very gloomy with no hint of blue. I walked around the block and bought a bun for breakfast. Again, the lady spoke zero English. She showed me 7 fingers, I gave her 20k Dong. She returned me 10k Dong, and then a few hundreds. I guess she meant 7k Dong, but seems like she short-changed me by 100 Dong. Due to my inability to convey my thoughts, I just left it as it is. No point causing a din for 100 Dong, which is less than USD0.01. If it means something to her, so be it. Or it could simply be a mistake. Whatever.
I returned to the hotel around 7:30 a.m., just sat around browsing some magazines. The van came at 8:05 a.m. and the last passengers were picked up at 8:15 a.m. This is how the pick-up vehicle look like:
There are altogether 12 of us in the group, including 3 Vietnamese, 4 French, 2 Australians and 2 Canadians. Some scenes along the way to Halong Bay...
Very bad weather for Halong Bay!
Highway toll... Their highway looks like our federal roads.
Countrysides are where we still can see many people cycling about.
After 3 hours of tedious road travel plus a 30 minutes visit to one of those cut-throat souvenir shops, we arrived at the wharf around 11:50 a.m.
The sky is still grey, no sign of sunshine, and the day seems to be doomed with bad weather. We waited 20 minutes for the captain to get the registration stuff ready, and another 20 minutes for the boat to find a place to park. 12:30 p.m., we are finally on board the boat!
These are the captains of different boats.
There are so many boats going out to Halong Bay!
A better look at the boat they call junk.