Sunday Morning arrived quickly after we got tucked in from our 30+ hour travels from MSP to Hanoi. Sunday started off with a delicious breakfast at the hotel in Hanoi. We were on the bus by 8:00 bound for the boat tour. On our way we had our first day-time exposure to life in Vietnam.
Sunday was the final day of the Vietnamese holiday Tet. We were told that while Tet was still occurring that many people are still back home in the villages where they grew up and that once Tet is over, we will get a better sense of what the daily life is like in Vietnam.
On our drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay for the boat tour, we saw motor bikes with multiple passengers going in many different directions, often times toward us on our side of the road! It is amazing how the organized chaos allows folks to get to where they’re going. It is common practice to use your horn to let people know that you’re coming up behind them in their blind spot. It actually works quite well however, the rule of thumb is that the larger the vehicle has the right of way!
On our way, we saw many rice fields as well as banana and pine apple groves. Vietnam is the #1 rice exporter in the world as they have 2 growing seasons in the north and 3 growing seasons in southern Vietnam. We will be touring a pine apple and rice farm in the next few days, so we’re certain to learn more.
We made a quick stop at a pearl visitor’s center where we learned about how farmers insert a mother of pearl to simulate the grit needed to start growing the pearl. Depending on the type of oyster and the size of pearl that they are growing it can take 2, 4 or 6 years to grow the pearl to a harvestable size.
From the Pearl Visitor Center, we finished our drive to Halong Bay where we began our tour of the bay and the majestic limestone formations. The weather was absolutely amazing. Temps were in the upper 60’s to low 70’s with a light breeze. There was a slight haze/fog in the air, but our tour guide said that this was the best day they have had in a number of weeks! Having a day to get our legs under us and to work through the jet lag was greatly appreciated by all.
We’re looking forward to tomorrow when we’ll tour the caves, talk with rice farmers and take in the sights between here and Nihn Bihn.
Anna Boroff & Daryl Timmerman