Catatonic in Cat Ba

This is it. The end. No more. The finale… For Vietnam I mean. 😉

Don’t worry I’ll still be tapping away for many months more… Although it is hard to believe that I’ve been tapping away for 6 months already. RSI here I come!

Well, we certainly saved one of the best till last. Halong Bay. Another one of Vietnam’s incredible UNESCO World Heritage sites. Trust me. It’s a stunner.
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Our first little potter into Halong, like most people, was through Cat Ba. We had grand plans to motorbike, climb and trek… All of which came to nought. I was feeling a little under the weather – more on that to come – and frankly I think we just wanted to stop. We are finding we like to STOP every once in a while. We reckon it is a sign of getting old, but it suits us alright.

So what did we do instead. Absolutely nothing. We played some cards, met a few people, watched some movies, ate a little and basically bumped around Cat Ba town. Not the greatest place to bum around. In my opinion it is a bit of a tourist dive, just in a very nice setting. Like if the Great Pyramids were in Swindon!
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But once we got away and puttering around Halong Bay… In our own private boat… It got a lot better.
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The scenery was beautiful. We knew what to expect having visited Ninh Binh previously – just subtract rice paddies and add the ocean. Our boat was HUGE. It’s crew friendly. The weather was mixed, but it was serene watching the rain fall fast and slow, light and hard from the shelter of our cabin.

We ventured out on kayaks. It rained. We got wet.
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We watched the stars from the top deck. Through quite a few clouds… But we saw the odd flicker.
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And we did not achieve much more. Again, I was still recuperating… I just didn’t know it yet.
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And then in the blink of a star it was all over. And we were back, once again, in Hanoi… This time in the Doc’s office. Dun dun duh!

It turns out I had been suffering the last 2 weeks or more (so all the way through our first visit to Hanoi, Ha Giang, Sapa – and the monumental Fansipan – and Halong) with streptococcus! I had been finding it quite hard to eat and, well, even though we haven’t yet made it to Delhi, its name is often associated with the issues I had been having!

Anyway, after a good consultation and many thorough tests – you don’t want to know – I was all clear. I had managed to shift it. The doc gave me a clean bill of health… Even said I was in incredibly good nick… For my age… For a traveller… For a man… I’m not sure, he never finished the sentence. Oh, and my wallet was made a lot lighter as well. But needs must!

And so now, with the good news in the bank, we left Vietnam. I am sitting writing in Changi airport. That’s Singapore. So after 6 months on the road – to the day – Joyce and I find ourselves back in the place it all started. But in a few hours, rather than it coming to an end we are continuing our journey…

… Indonesia. I hope you’re ready!

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