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Hanoi Is No Place For A Hangover!

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

So last night I ended up going for “a” drink with Sara, an Ozzie who’s been at the hostel longer than me.  We completely hit it off; so much so that we continued drinking gin and tonics late into the night and both woke up wrecked today in this Shibble-forsaken heat. Here’s Thema and Louise today sweating pure gin.            

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I’ll be fully recovered tommorrow, however, to catch my flight to Beijing–woot!  And oh yeah, there’s a new Random Photos page under “Cat Ba”. 

Wow, I’ll be home in three days!!  

Another Spin Around Cat Ba

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Once again I was treated to seeing parts of Cat Ba island that most tourists miss, and this time, thank Shibble, I was even chauferred on a scooter.

Pete (co-owner of The Noble House hotel where I stayed), Onslo, and yet another Pete and I set off for a drive around the island.

Onslo was in dire need of chilling out for a bit (the stresses of trying to set up a business in Vietnam were getting on his last nerve), and so our first stop was a house Pete owns in a quiet little village.

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Slo Pony Express

Friday, April 13th, 2007

The alarm laying next to my pillow never had a chance to sound off on Wednesday morning; stepping completely outta character, I woke at 6:10 am and couldn’t get back to sleep.  I was none too happy about this, but at least it gave me a chance to drink copious amounts of coffee before meeting Onslo and a slew of other travellers he’d recruited for the hike.

As new residents of the island, Onslo Carrington and partner Erik Ferjentsik are attempting to introduce rock climbing in the area via their company, Slo Pony Adventures.  Although rock climbing is Onslo’s specialty, the hiking was nothing short of astounding.

Starting with tea and a few spins in the hammocks,

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our group set off with no idea what we were getting ourselves into. 

Before setting off, Trinh (Onslo’s friend and local guide) grabbed a machete.

Oooh, that’s a cool prop, I thought.  Gives it the ole Indiana Jones feel

Yeah, that’s right; fade in circus music, folks.

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An Easter Sunday First

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

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I’m not the only one who’s fallen in love with Cat Ba lately and decided to stay longer than planned.  My neighbor at the guesthouse, Pete from England, only planned on staying a few days, and has now been here for over five weeks.  When he admitted to feeling as sloppy and lazy and I was, he suggested a hike up to the  north end of the island, and I immediately agreed to go.  When he said he’d come around the next morning to wake me at seven, however, I squawked.  It took some pissing and moaning, but I finally talked him into rousing me at 8 am.  And starting the next morning, Pete was to step into The Ig’s big shoes and see what he had to deal with on a daily basis for eight long months.

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Around Cat Ba, My New “Job”, And Itchy Feet

Friday, April 6th, 2007

This is what I look at everyday from my balcony, and when I go for a toodle along the bay, it’s even better close up.

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Videos Of The Day

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

Here’s a few videos from last weekend’s festival.   

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April Fool’s Day

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

Here in Vietnam, the first day of summer is April first–or at least that’s what one of the locals here in Cat Ba told me.  If that was to be an April Fool’s day joke, it backfired; after spending five days on the island with nary a peep of sun, I awoke yesterday morning to that glorious ball o’ fire blazing away in the cloudless sky.  I’ve spent the last two days sunbathing and splashing in the ocean on an isolated beach that’s accessable only by an elevated footpath built into the side of a cliff.

The following pics were taken on my second day here, so there’s no sun, but it’s still breathtaking scenery even when shrouded in mist.  There are three beaches here; just follow the road below,

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and if you head right, you get to the only beach with a resort on it.

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Morning Festivities

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

I’ve been told that not much happens here in the sleepy little fishing town called Cat Ba until the summer months, when throngs of Vietnamese tourists descend on the island, causing hotel and guesthouse prices to quadruple. 

This past weekend, however, the town was swaddled in visitors here for a festival.  Although I was told it was being held for the Miss Vietnam pageant, I’m leaning towards believing the person who told me it was held to honor Uncle Ho, as I didn’t witness any ladies strutting their schtuff on the stage set up across from my guesthouse.

Starting on Thursday, the video below shows what I woke up to every morning.  The video was clipped, as I ran outta space on my card, but you’ll get the jist. 

I’ll be adding pics and more videos over the next few days in between beach time–and wait ’till you see the pics of the beaches…absolute nirvana!

The Island

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

While in Hanoi, I made it a point to pick other traveller’s brains on where to head next.  Most people were going on tours of Halong Bay, and while an organized tour is a great way to see an area, I’m just not big on being herded around.  While reading my book on Vietnam, a little island called Cat Ba jumped out at me, and I just knew that’s where I wanted to go.

I bought a combined bus and ferry ticket, and even though the bus driver kicked me off the bus a good half hour from the dock (I was the only one left on the bus, and I think he just couldn’t be bothered), I managed to catch the ferry before it left.

The ferry I was on was much smaller than the one pictured below, which seemed to serve as a makeshift dock; we had to walk through the bigger ferry to jump on the smaller one.

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Hangin’ In Hanoi

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

Although I spent four days in Hanoi,

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I didn’t really get around to actually doing much; what I wanted was to just sit for a few days and decompress, to chill out and relax with absolutely nothing at all on my schedule.
I did just that, but instead of finding myself in blissful relaxation like I imagined, I found myself almost completely quiet and withdrawn. I met many wonderful people in my short stay there, but I just couldn’t get into socializing, which is something I absolutely love.
Enter Rudy, a wiry, quirky New Yorker who has no qualms about breaking into a skip down the street if the mood so strikes him.
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