Winter Break: Back to Hanoi

Previous: Castaway Island
Next: Goodbye Vietnam

The night we spent on Castaway Island was filled with unfamiliar sounds. The waves slapping the retaining wall maybe 10 feet from our hut was soothing. The wind wasn’t blowing nearly as hard, but it was still audible in the distance. There were various boat motors passing by at different stages of the night, some louder than others and sounding almost like helicopters. At one point, a boat in the water was shining a light on the island, lighting it up as if it was daytime. Was this finally the sunshine we were hoping for… at 3 am? Unfortunately no. Very strange? Yes.

As the sun rose, just about everyone was already up, packing and brushing their teeth in anticipation of getting off the island well before the breakfast gong rang. During breakfast, the mother of the Canadian family duo showed us all her leather sandal that had become the snack of an island rodent during the night. The majority of her leather strap had been chewed through.

The transfer boat that would take us back to the Jolly Roger was right on time. My girlfriend was the first one to climb aboard, getting her off the sand and on the way back civilization. A mix of farewells could be heard as we pulled away. See you again Castaway Island, in the sun shine next time. Thanks for the interesting memories Castaway Island, I’ll have to think twice before deciding whether or not we’ll ever meet again. Good riddance Castaway Island, see you never. My thoughts? I had a good time. That good time would have increased by ten if it were warm and sunny. Better weather would have gotten more people back in the water. It would have encouraged people to play volleyball in sand. More drinking would have ensued, causing people to lose inhibitions and care less about where they are sleeping and the noise others are making. At this stage in my life, I’m looking for less of a party and more quiet time with my girl. To sum it up, more privacy and warmer weather is what I would be looking for in the future.

The boat ride back to the Jolly Roger provided a good opportunity to capture Halong Bay with my flip video.

We re-boarded the Jolly Roger and sat down in the community room for brunch. As we ate, we watched the 4 brave souls that were continuing on to Castaway Island after their first night on the junk boat hop on the transfer boat. They were already drunk and visibly excited about the journey ahead of them. Only 4 people? Word must have spread that with the frigid temperatures, there is not a whole lot to do, because there were at least 10 people up top, drinking and already acting obnoxious in the early day, that chose to return to Hanoi after the night on the boat. And in a sort of ominous warning to the only girl in the group of 4 that set off for the island, my girlfriend hugged herself as if she was freezing cold, giving her the heads up that we didn’t receive as to what to expect when she got there.

The addition of the other 10 passengers to our 4 hour shuttle ride back to Hanoi was less than enjoyable. Not only did it make things extremely cramped, but they were the kind of group we were so happy not to get stuck with. Irish, English and Australians assed out drunk by noon, rambling on and on about nothing and asking stupid questions. The couple in front of us was annoying, constantly turned around, in our face, more concerned with watching and laughing at the drunken Irish fool than they were with paying attention to each other. Dude was so obnoxious that his girlfriend wouldn’t acknowledge his existence and left him to sit in the back of the shuttle, as far away as possible. Lucky for us, we got to ride with him in the front. He had the nerve to ask such insulting questions to the girls from China and Singapore such as, “What are you doing in Vietnam?”, in a tone of voice that suggested… you’re Asian, why would you be interested in seeing this place, isn’t it all the same? Her response was priceless and did a good job at shutting him up…”To meet a charming Irish lad such as yourself.” Everyone cheered when he passed out.

As we cruised back in to Hanoi we were reminiscent of our time on the water. The city greeted us with congested traffic, poor air quality, noise pollution and stacks of baguettes. We arrived at Hanoi Backpacker’s Hostel and were pleasantly surprised that we were given the 2 person suite instead of re-checking in to the 3 person suite we had before. Not that the 3 man suite was bad, but this new room was awesome. It was a few levels above the main floor, up a narrow staircase in the back of the main side of the hostel, and far away from any noise that we might encounter. It had a nice TV, and dvd player with a stack of pirated movies… and we easily located the hot water switch to the bathroom. We dropped our laundry off, paid the extra to expedite the washing process because we were leaving the next morning for Cambodia, showered up and ventured back in to the depths of the city.

Our goal this time? A complete tea pot set and some pashminas for my lady as well as some gifts for family back home. We accomplished all this and more, also finding some really cool wall hangings in French featuring Tin Tin that reminded my girl of growing up. Shopping down, we had an amazing dinner at a cool cafe near the hostel that featured a huge menu of Vietnamese and Western cuisine. We got fresh squeezed juices, a smoked salmon sandwich with fries, a chicken/bacon/avocado sandwich, a salad, minestrone soup and chocolate cake for dessert.

Pretty exhausted from a long day, we walked our super heavy bag of loot back to the hostel and prepared for a much needed good sleep. We would only have a few hours to get anything accomplished the next morning, before having to catch our shuttle to the airport and setting off for Cambodia.

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on January 22, 2010.

4 Responses to “Winter Break: Back to Hanoi”

  1. […] rest of the Angkor Temples Angkor Wat Hello Cambodia Goodbye Vietnam Back to Hanoi Castaway Island Day and night on Halong Bay First full day in Hanoi Christmas in […]

  2. […] in Hanoi First full day in Hanoi Day and night on Halong Bay Castaway Island Back to Hanoi Goodbye Vietnam Hello Cambodia Angkor Wat The rest of the Angkor Temples New Year’s in […]

  3. […] Winter Break: Castaway Island Previous: Day and night on Halong Bay Next: Back to Hanoi […]

  4. […] Break: Goodbye Vietnam… Previous: Back to Hanoi Next: Hello […]

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