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Touring Halong Bay

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Boaters at Cat Ba Island

HALONG BAY  .....   Halong Bay had thousands of islands jutting straight up out of the water like Chinese landscapes.  I never knew they were a realistic portrayal before. The boat ride was several hours and allowed time to admire, read, write, and nap.

The tour provided a mountain hike in the morning.   It promised to be one hour up and one hour down complete with mud, flies, bees, and mosquitoes.  There was no promise of a view upon arrival because it was cloudy.   No way was I interested.  Instead, I went to the harbor.  A very attractive teenage girl offered a boat tour for less than a dollar.  I couldn't refuse.  She probably got a lot of teasing from her friends, but we were both happy with the arrangement.

Her oblong shaped boat was woven like a basket.   Interesting, but my goal was to ride in the smaller round style boat like the ones I'd seen before in Nha Trang.  She took me next to a large fishing boat that had one of those round style boats, and the men were very willing to be entertained by me.  I sat in the middle and managed to spin in circles, got far from the boat only because they had pushed me, and had to be towed back by the teenager.  Then, a fisherman jumped in to the boat to show me how to really paddle around.  (The key was to sit on the very edge -- something I wasn't willing to do while holding my camera.  I wasn't about to tip the boat.)  Everyone, me included, loved it when he spun the boat as fast as he could.  A good time, and some fun photos, was had by all.  It was so much better than a mountain hike.

Copyright 1998 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.