Yesterday was so long and hot, we decided to just chill out the entire day. We had a late breakfast and waited around for our passports to come back. We were so happy and relieved when they did, and with the official Vietnamese Visa stamp in place no less!
We went back to our favorite coffee place, did some shopping, talked to other guests at the guest house, and then had one final delicious dinner at Viroths restaurant. It got rave reviews in the guidebooks, but we found it a bit noisy and exposed. ( Our favorite upscale restaurant in town was 24 Square, where we went the first night.)
We turned in early for out 5 o'clock tuk tuk ride to the airport on Saturday.
The flight from Siem Reap to Hanoi was fine. Then a taxi to the bus station where it took us forever to figure out where and how to buy tickets to Cat Ba Island. Once our tickets were in hand , we needed food, so we found the only place open within walking distance and sat down for our first Vietnamese meal. I ordered vegetable tofu soup, Drew ordered ginger chicken. My soup was fine, but Drew's chicken was just that-a while chicken, cut up, with some ginger sauce. There was no head, but pretty much all the other parts were there, with skin, including the foot! Drew was Good sport and ate as much as he could.
We boarded the bus with about half westerners and half Vietnamese. So far, our impression was that Vietnam was hard to get around in, it was dirty, people were not as friendly, and their language was much less melodious than Thai or Khmer.
A 2 hour bus ride, then a transfer to another smaller bus, then a transfer to a small "speed boat" and finally a transfer to a small bus on Cat Ba Island that weaved it's way along the coast (really pretty).
We found a place for $10 per night in Cat Ba and headed to the European-owned Noble House restaurant for pizza and French fries. We needed some comfort food after the claw.
We were looking forward to some down time at the next stop.
I have pictures, but in the interest of catching up on this blog, I am going to skip them for this post. Maybe I will go back later and fill in.