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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

5 December 2018

And another thing…

Ha Long Bay from above

Ha Long Bay from above

28 November 2018

FFS. You’ve created a little resort of bungalows in the middle of Cat Ba island. You’ve taken the trouble to provide air conditioning and hot water, and the bungalow is large and solidly built. So why provide literally no furniture other than a bed? There’s room for a bedside table, a desk or table, a wardrobe even, and certainly a mirror. And why make the bathroom tiny so that it has to be a wetroom where you shower over the sink and loo? Why not make it 3 foot longer and have a shower curtain? There’s plenty of room. Oh, and why not have a window with curtains or blinds, or just a small window high up. You’ve built a big window literally 2 foot from the path, so if we open the shutters then everyone walking past can admire us. Stupid.

I’m just being grumpy because the hike up to the top of the hill overlooking Ha Long Bay was extremely hot and tiring, being basically vertical and extremely rocky so that every step needed care going up and even more down. The view was lovely, but we still couldn’t really enjoy it with our guide Ba’a. “Is that Hawk Rock where we kayaked yesterday?” “Yes, yes, you look far can see Ha Long City.” “Yes but can you see Hawk Rock? Where we kayak? Down there?” Pause. “Yes, many rock in Ha Long Bay.”

Junk food - oysters with peanuts

Junk food – oysters with peanuts

I know, you’re sitting there thinking “well, why don’t you try learning Vietnamese eh?” But he’s not a random stranger we met on the street, we’ve paid £300+ for our 2 day tour and that’s kinda meant to include a helpful guide. Anyway, we’re shot of him now.

I can feel myself going on a whinge again. To put it in perspective: he has kept us safe for two half-days, taken us on two kayak excursions and on one hike. That he hasn’t been able to tell us anything useful or interesting, or just have a nice chat with us, is perhaps more about our expectation level?

But while I’m moaning, our overnight boat was a bit of a junk as well, in both senses of the word. Our cabin door had a broken lock, our bathroom was a cupboard, the loo only flushed if you asked the crew to switch the pump on, the drink selection was water, beer, or water (and we had to stop to buy the water from a floating shop!). Again, we didn’t really know what to expect. But now that we’ve got some WiFi and looked at the websites of some of the other boats we’ve encountered on our tour, it looks like we should have expected a helluva lot better for the price. FFS!

Can't beat the views

Can’t beat the views

That being said, I’ve been amazed at the food coming out of whatever little galley they’ve got in the back of the boat. The captain cooks a mean plate of oysters with peanuts and chilli!

Haha. The resort people have just started playing some shite music at a loud volume. This place is called “Whisper of Nature” and the selling point is being right in the National Park, in the eaves of the jungle, close to nature. Oh, FFS.

Postscript: okay, to be fair, there is one cool thing about Whisper of Nature. In the little stream that flows through the property there live hundred of fish that nibble your feet. I’ve seen “fish massage” in resorts before, but it’s usually a tank full of teeny fish. These guys are much bigger, and their nibbling is the TICKLIEST SENSATION IN THE WORLD!

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