Hangovers, Boat parties and embalmed corpses
03.08.2012 - 09.08.2012 30 °C
In my last entry I was boasting and banging on about how insanely amazing the weather was (ner ner ne ner ner style) well day 2, thats the day after my birthday, brought some more unpleasant weather as monsoon began to kick in. No matter though, I was hungover to high hell. Olu, being the mega-pussy he was (:-P) went off to the hospital to sort out his gammy foot which was almost completely severed in an unfortunate tubing accident. He'd been walking around on it for 2 days which was some feat (maha!) considering it was only hanging on by a couple of stringy bits of tendon. So whilst he did that, I went breakfast hunting with the Danes then went for a mooch about town. We all met up later on and the Pastries told us they had found a Halong Bay trip for just $40...a kick in the teeth to the others who had paid $75 but it was us who were laughing. After we booked that, we headed out for a couple of beers and some street grub. Olu as usual was making friends left right and centre so we teamed up with some guys who had traveled Vietnam on motorbikes. As we were getting up early however, we went back to the hotel around half 10 (excluding Olu, who with his near-severed foot, didnt roll in until 4am). The Pastries got us up at 7am and there was drama when the taxi came for us and Olu was fannying around some cash point somewhere but eventually we were away. And we were packing about 20 beers between us and 2 bottles of LaoLao Whiskey. As we had only paid $40 for the trip, we were of course expecting that we might be disappointed somewhere down the line, and 10 minutes in we discovered what that was. THE FRENCH. Thats right. Our bus was full of them, which could only mean one thing; that the boat would also be overrun with them. We resigned ourselves to a mediocre trip but once we were on the boat things couldnt have been better! We had some lunch then went cruising around the tiny limestone islands, stopping for a rowing boa trip and kayaking, and a swim in a cove. Whilst swimming in the cove, I learned that not only could Olu not swim, but that apparently black people in general are unable to swim due to high muscle density and heavy bone marrow. (Olu's words not mine) Interesting! So I had a good laugh at his expense when he was just floating there all feeble and helpless in the water with his lifejacket on.
Back on board we had some dinner and met a lovely Spanish chic called Natalia who teamed up with us in our beer drinking shenanigans which began immediately after the meal. We had to sneak the beer on board since it wasnt allowed, and had to intermittently buy the odd beer from the bar, then chug 2 or 3 more from our own cans. Sneaky! By 1am the whiskey had come out and we were all decided that we would sleep on deck on the sunloungers. By the time we finally went to bed, it was around 4am, and we woke up at 5am for a swim.....urgh. Hungover isnt the word.
After a horrible ordeal of a journey back to Hanoi which involved numerous long waits, and a stop at some shit ornament shop, the Pastries announced they were leaving Hanoi in 30mins! Well I could hardly just 'go to bed'. We had to have one more beer together which is precisely what we did - Bia Ahoy! It was pretty shit to see them go especially since I knew the girls would be leaving the following morning. After a couple more beers, I was dead and went back to the room for an earlyish, depressing night. At 4am I was woken by Olu coming in and muttering shit to himself - how the hell does one man party so dam hard!? - then at 7am the girls called in to say bye. It was horrible. I didnt cry though, I was too sleepy. But I was feeling pretty shit when I finally got up.
We decided to have a lazyish day today so me and Olu walked around a bit while Wade stayd in the room checking out his next destination online. We just walked around town and went to a market then headed back to the hotel with some beers. Later on, we all dropped into a few bia hoi places and despite the fact that I wasnt feeling much like going out, it was the last night out with the boys for me so I made a good effort! Wade went home around 10 and me and Olu teamed up with a couple of the guys who we'd met previously with the motorbikes. We ended up in Flowbar where some little Asian guy was breakdancing and I was almost sick on the bar from a shot I had. Then we went to Lighthouse bar for a bit. By half 2 I was ready for bed so I got a motorbike taxi home which was crazy when drunk, but fun all the same! :P
Olu as usual didnt roll in until much later - around 6am! lol but we were all up at lunch time mooching about and after about an hour of walking around to find somewhere that Wade found palatable (i.e. not local food) we ended up stopping at a kebab place! It still felt like morning to me but it was well into lunch time so I had a bowl of delicious Pho! my fav!!
Afterwards, I went to the Hoa Lo Prison Museum which was built by.....the French! It was pretty cool though so when I returned and checked into the hostel it was pretty much time for goodbyes! Obviously I am still going to be meeting up with Wade later on but not really sure when, so was just a final goodbye to Olu as well which was quick and painless. Was kinda horrid the first couple of hours on my own but I needed an early night as still hadnt caught up on sleep since Halong Bay. I didnt get up until about 11am so went for a walk around the city again, did a few jobs, went to a cafe and read a book then by 2pm it was time to get on the beer! Met some other single travellers in my hostel and tagged along with them for a bit then later participated in a pub quiz which was largely Geography themed - my strongpoint! but didnt stick around to see who won. Ended up at my local Bia Hoi and met some Aussies and had a nice meal with them, then was in bed by around midnight. Was quite hungover this morning but I dragged my sorry ass out of bed and went to see Ho Chi Minh's embalmed corpse in his Mausoleum...it didnt really look much like him from the photos and footage, he was a lot skinnier and pale, and he must have had a lightbulb inside him as he was glowing really brightly. The whole thing was really weird. After that, I walked around Hoan Kiem Lake then had some food with an Aussie family I met in a cafe and now here I am!
Just been offered to go to Snake Village later tonight so I can eat a snake's heart while it still beats....hmmm......what to do what to do. I leave Hanoi tomorrow for Ninh Binh and I'm pretty sad to leave here. It's an awesome city with so much going on and so many friendly people. Not to mention cheap as shit BEER!! :P
More updates in a week or so