OK, we've been fleeced from one end of Ha Noi to the other.
It started when we arrived at the first hotel we wanted to try. A guy peers in, looking all official, and asks if we have a reservation. We say no, he says there are no more rooms however they have a new hotel a block away, similar quality. He has a professional looking card with the 1st hotel's name, and a map showing the new hotel. We go there. It's a dump, we got screwed, we hear later that they've got a reputation as hustlers. Lonely Planet letter #1.
Then we book Ha Long Bay. In the previous comment thread someone says it's set up for honeymoons. Well, maybe the way Nauru camp is set up for honeymoons. We paid well above the par, going to a 'reputable' travel agent who are in Lonely Pissant and were also recommended by a couple of friends who clearly got lucky.
The boat was pretty crap. I didn't realise how crap till we stopped next to several other tourist boats while visiting a cave.
The cave has this rock, it's called Uncle Ho's Finger, and it looks like a huge fat cock with balls under it. Incredibly as I pissed myself they kept straight faces, and I realised they really DO call it his finger.
We paid $300US, supposedly to get a premium tour. Everyone else on our hock-job paid around $30-50US each. I'm going to lose my fucking rag in the travel agent in Ha Noi. If they don't pay some cash back I'm sitting on the front step and disabusing every other sucker who walks up until they change their minds.
Oh, yeah, the rats. Our room on the boat. I'm pissing, I hear a scream. Something the size of an alsatian has sprinted along past beloved's head. She runs out, I stay in the room changing. With my jeans half way up I hear a scuttle, I freeze. Something huge races along behind the curtains, a few inches away from my face. There is more scuttling near the door (it runs through a hole) and another scream, as it confronts beloved and other passengers in the ship's lounge.
I've found somewhere with cold tiger, I'm heading back there now.
After having words with the fuckwash who sold the trip, we're booking in five star.
Anyone thinking of Ha Long Bay- book in Australia so you can sue the miserable turds if they fuck it up.
Oh, otherwise, having a lot of fun, the bay itself is superlative, sea-kayaking up against the sheer limestone cliffs in the evening, with the water flat and black and no wind, incredible.
A tribute to Fred Gruen - A few weeks ago, I gave the FH Gruen lecture, on the topic After reform: the economic policy agenda in the 21st century. Thanks to sound editor Simon Kravi...
1 day ago