Yesterday, I awoke early and had everything packed for a 1 night cruise through the hostel for Halong Bay. It seemed like a must-see place here in Vietnam, so I was eager to go. I had to check out of the hostel, so most of my stuff was in the stogage room at the hostel.
I got on the bus around 8:00, which picked up various folks for the cruise around Halong Bay, which is a bay filled with lots of islands sticking right out fo the group. Many which contain caves Once all of us we're picked up, around 60 of us-I learned that this was a true party crusie. The short leader said “Who's here to party???? You are all going to get f___d up!”.Of course everyone cheered .I was sort of nervous-I couldn't keep up with 20 something year olds when I was 20 something. Now 25 years later I will be left in the dust.
After 4 hours, at approximately noon, after a stop at a rest area to purchase Vietnam souviniers, including those from the disabled, (art which was made by them), we made it to the pier where we took a tender to the boat. The boat held about 90 people. We started with lunch in the dining room, which consisted of some type of tofu, some type of breaded fish, french fries and other stuff. Some of the guys at the temple we're recent graduates of Babson College, and weren't too happy to have some 48 year old on a cruise on their backpacking graduation trip.
After lunch-the activities started.
First kyaking to a nearby bay. Most folks we're in pairs. I was alone. I went in a kyack, and promptly tipped it over and fell in the water. I was embarassed, and had to swim about 3 feet to the dock and have the helpers pull me on to the dock while everyone else who haven't boarded their kyak waited for me. At this point, I was thinking about just staying on the boat while everyone else kayaked. Eventually, a woman from Chicago was also alone-so I just went in the kayak with her. After doing that, I learned I should have stayed on the boat. Kayaking is boring. The girl seemed to know exactly how to steer. I didn't enjoy it. It was boring, but the bay was quite scenic.
Next was jumping off the side of the boat time. After kayaking, we got back to the boat, where drinks we're served,for a fee. I had a beer with lunch-I could have had another but didn't feel like paying for one. I told one guy that if they offered me a free beer, I would jump off the boat. I spoke too soon-he said he would buy me a beer. So I got up-there we're two places, a lower deck and higher deck to jump. I climbed up the ladder, walked along a ledge, and jumped off. I landed in the water with a large boom-it wasn't too bad, and he bought me the beer. I felt good-one 20 something girl tried to jump off, but got scared when up there and climbed back down the ladder. Others did it but only after standing on the ledge for a while. But I did it immediately.
Then the boat started sailing into the sunset. Rather than sit and have a narration of the spots, we did beer yoga. The instructor/cruise director/short guy does all sorts of yoga poses, and then we do a sip of beer after each pose with a long straw. It was rather entertaining, and wasn't serious but not a total joke either, as we passed by a bunch of islands.
Then came a happy hour, with one free drink, which was weak. And dinner. Dinner was ok-a lot of seafood. Then there was a crew talent show with some lame skits, the crew running around. And then another happy hour with dance music playing. The music kept playing. But few people we're there. I took a nap on deck-because I didn't want to go back to my room to see my two roomates gone while I couldn't take it-because I was bored-but I eventually I went back and they we're both there. We hung out for a while talking about life. Then we decided to go back to the dance floor, and see if it got better. They both got into conversations with others. I was bored, so I went back to the room to sleep-it was roughly 11:00 or so.