Hạ Long to Hanoi
I found Alan up early on the top deck enjoying the dawn watching fishermen and women in their small tenders. One fisherman I saw was rowing his boat with his feet while holding a rod in one hand and hand line in the other. You could hear the sea hawks and kites singing around the islands.
The sun came out briefly as the boat started to motor off for the day, but up ahead we heard thunderstorms and saw lightning. Soon we were called for breakfast - fresh orange juice, chicken noodle soup, eggs, sausage and toast. After breakfast we headed off for a floating village visit where 45 families and 200 people live. One of the local fisherwomen or men rowed us in a bamboo boat around the villages and then returned to their “day job” of fishing.
The children from the floating villages go to school on the mainland, and only come home once a month. Everyone has dogs which are pets but also act as watch dogs that keep the hawks away from the fish farms.
We finished the bamboo boat ride at a floating pearl village where a couple of the group gave into temptation and purchased some pearl jewellery. We then had to start our journey back to Hạ Long to meet our bus back to Hanoi.
On the way we stopped to see a water puppet show at Yen Duc. This show was only about 20 minutes whereas the one in Hanoi is about 50 minutes. The stories are the same, the one in Hanoi just had more scenes.
We arrived back at the hotel at 5pm with just enough time for some washing and a shower before dinner at the Downtown Cafe and Restaurant where we had been for happy hour after the puppet show. The food everywhere has been amazing, the beers are cold and the cocktails are cheap.