We were not kidnapped by pirates in Halong Bay! I am beginning to wonder if the Island Boy blog has been censored in Vietnam – I haven’t been able to access it for days. Other than that, we have been truly enjoying our time in Vietnam.
The people of Vietnam are warm and very friendly. Everywhere we went, particularly while we were on the bikes, people would yell out, “hello!” as we passed. The children loved to do this and would giggle when we responded. They would see us coming far down the road and would rush out to the road to smile at us. The brave ones would reach out for a high-five as we passed.
It is a country that is learning to treat tourists very well, but it is occasionally obvious that they are still learning. Although you are constantly offered a refreshing washcloth and the hotel staff wouldn’t dream of allowing you to wheel your own luggage, as we got out of our van in our bike gear in the pouring rain, they were so entranced with the strange clothing and gear that they forgot to offer us the umbrella that they were holding. They quickly remembered themselves when I glanced at the umbrella so it was actually quite charming. The best example of the “still learning” process is the fact that the national airline, Vietnam Airlines, scheduled our flight from Danang to Saigon to be four hours late a day in advance. Once we boarded the 777 (a HUGE plane which we have previously been on primarily for very long haul flights), we realized they must have preferred to save fuel by running one big plane on the route rather than several smaller flights. Whatever. Not exactly tourist friendly and not very business friendly either! Luckily, we got a good laugh out of that too although we were sad to miss spending the afternoon in Saigon.
We’ve got some catching up to do on our travels thus far. In the meantime, here are a few photos.