After a good sleep we enjoyed a very tasty breakfast with fresh fruits, eggs and other necessities. As we started to head back we managed to enjoy a little bit of sun, or at least it was getting warm enough to consider a swim. The guide, Ken, kept pointing out animals and objects that one could see in the rock formations. We dozed off in the lounge chairs and idly watched the landscape, and a few photos were of course taken. After a quick stop at a floating village to look at the fish and seafood they stored it was unfortunately time to have the last meal at the boat and settle our bills before heading back to Hanoi. It was a bit weird, or perhaps more ironic that a kid at the floating village had a jacket decorated by a bird from Angry Birds. A game that become popular on a device that her family most likely never could afford led to merchandise that was copied to clothing for affluent tourists. I wonder if someone will explain the origin of the bird, probably it matters little to the kid anyway.
When we got back to Hanoi Guesthouse they asked about the trip and if we were happy and so on, we explained that the trip was very nice but it was a bit irritating to hear that other passengers had paid as much as 20 USD less per ticket – a few dollars more for service is to be expected but this left a sour taste. The staff quickly explained that yes, they get commission – about 3 USD, and asked us for more information. A few calls later between the hotel and Oriental Sails we are informed that Oriental Sails had given someone a special price etc, but we were given 30USD and the staff explained that they would now get a new price 15USD lower for all customers as well. And there was much rejoicing. While we were waiting for the taxi to the train I bought Civilization Revolution for the iPad and charged it up for the upcoming trail ride.
The train reminded me of my 72 hour trip from Beijing to Lhasa, slightly softer beds and not as good food though. The old classic hole in the floor bathroom but for some reason I found it cozy, almost like building your treehouse as a kid with luggage, blankets and a bed in a cramped space. We, nor the other couple present, found a way to turn off the lights, and agreed it was centrally controlled. As I finished the round of Civ around midnight with full lights I unscrewed the actual bulbs which were accessible. After traveling by boat, bus, taxi and now sleeper train it was time to pay Mr Sandman my respects.