Amazing weekend…..

 Posted by Sheryl Norris at 11:03 pm  Vietnam
May 222016
 

Well back from another weekend away and on my last week at the centre.

I went for an overnight cruise on a junk around Ha Long Bay. What an amazing place. The scenery is spectacular and there were only 16 people on board, so made for a nice small group that got on well mostly. There is always one person whom complains about everything and yep we had one. So everyone just kept away from her. I had a room with a balcony so spent time out there watching the sun set and the world go by. We visited a floating village and pearl farm. The poor woman whom had to row us around. Six hefty Europeans  ( I was the lightest) in a boat being rowed for 60 minutes around the village. Our boat went first and came back last. We were told to tip her 10,000dong each. We all tipped her double. Apparantly, 5 years ago there were 500 families living in the village now there is only 50 families. The area is UNESCO  protected and so the people have been rehomed on the mainland. It is expected that the rest will be gone within the next couple of years. Unfortunately, like all people that are rehomed, they are not doing well on the mainland as their livelihood was the water and fishing. The bay is overfished. Then everyone was taken swimming before back for cocktails watching the sun set. Dinner was a seafood banquet where they created flowers out of vegetables. We were all up at 5.15am to watch the sun rise and then to do some tai chi before breakfast. Then off to explore a cave, more swimming a cooking class on how to make spring rolls and lunch. Then a slow trip back to shore.

Ha Long Bay consists of around 200 islands and only a small portion of them are protected. There are 550 tourist boats going out every day and 220 that stay out overnight. And of that 220 there are only 20 that go to where we went, which meant it was quiet. it is definitely worth the trip and a must see on your list. The photos don’t do justice to the views. It was the most relaxing and serene weekend I have had for a long time. 

On the way we stopped at a disabled persons production workshop and selling house. This is an orphanage that has done well in obtaining funding to set up a series of workshops where people make embroidered pictures, create sculptures, make clothes, jewellery and heaps of other stuff. They have a wall of overseas buyers of their sculptures and would you believe there was one from Invercargill New Zealand.

On the way home we had a flat tire. We pulled over next to a fruit seller outside her house. She invited us all in, fed us pineapple and banana and showed us all around her place. She had a cow and calf, chooks, a dog and numerous fruit trees. After an hour of waiting for the driver to pushbike back to town and get a repair truck and getting tyre changed we were on our way. Of course we paid the Lady well for her hospitality.

Well this is my  last week at the centre. today the staff asked when I was leaving and they wanted to swap Facebook details. Then one asked me if she could have my pants and top and another the bracelet I was wearing. I said yes to both, handed over the bracelet, but they would have to wait till Friday for the clothes. Apparantly, this Is common practice when someone is leaving. There are a couple of things clothes wise that I will be leaving behind and the bracelet was made at the centre and i plan to buy a heap anyway.

I have had a sore throat for the past week and over the weekend it developed into infected sinuses so am now on antibiotics for that. Otherwise I have been fine. One of the other volunteers also has the throat infection and we are pretty sure we have got it from the kids as there is always a few with coughs, running noses and sneezing, not to mention diahoea and lice.

Until the next installment………

   

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