After checking out and having a quick breakfast we were picked up at our hotel and slumbered the better part of the three and a half our drive to Ha Long. Our friendly, but energetic guide seemed rather slow in learning our nationalities I thought since he kept referring to Germans and there were none present. It was only later I realized he was saying Gentlemen, but I digress. We had settled for the medium price option, a company called Oriental Sails which promised good food as well as a safe journey. There were plenty of other boats and some obviously catered to the more adventurous/cost-focused crowd.
Ha Long Bay was beautiful with the many limestone islands but the sky was grayish (most photos will probably end up in b/w). We had a lovely lunch, with the anticipated overly priced drinks and a few hours later we visited some cave where the guides, as usual, have found rock-formations looking similar to half the local fauna and a few mythical beasts as well. I did see one animal not pointed out by the guide though! After the tour through the cave, we went kayaking for one hour which was very nice with the sun appearing briefly as well.
The whole boat had 16 cabins and the average age was probably a decade above ours, returning from the kayaking we saw a group of youngsters ranging between 18 and 25 all having beers and wearing sandals and swimming trunks (it was not by any means warm enough to swim) and felt awfully old as we realized it was well invested money to go for a slighty more expensive option in no small part to avoid partying backpackers.
When we got back it was happy hour and after shaving off that beard of mine we joined the bar to try out their cocktails. They preferred to err on the safe side when mixing the drinks meaning that no one could possibly complain on watered down drinks.The dinner was on par with the lunch, I’d ordered “no meat” and the staff was always paying attention to where I sat and offered alternative dishes – the seafood was very nice and it was a bunch of smaller courses on proper plates. After a few of the drinks it was now time to prove to ourselves that while not young we could still sing Karaoke.
First up was a Vietnamese girl, singing Vietnamese which seemed like a safe bet, but fueled by Margaritas from hell the Spanish lady next to us stepped up and sang with heart and soul – that it was “New York New York” didn’t matter much – we showed those damned kids we were still a force to be reckoned with. From then things spiraled out of control – the up till then rather discreet gay couple explained they were on their honeymoon, which of course required complimentary cake with fireworks. Mona sang “nothing compares to you” for me receiving a round of applause as well as puppy eyes from yours truly. After a healthy amount of laughs, Spanish lady doing Chiciquita and showing dance moves from seventies, and more drinks we went to bed after a great day.