|Rosie here. A thousand apologies for being so slack of late on the diary front. We've sometimes had problems getting onto the site and there's often been a lack of internet cafes to use. We've also been on the move alot lately. But enough excuses, it's time to get back on track.
SOooOooo....it's the 20th of August today which means that there's just under a month left till hometime. We're currently in Brunei and plus one, as a friend of ours will be with us till the end now. But more of that later. This entry is to tell you a little about Halong Bay.
For those of you who don't know (and why would you, I hadn't heard of it), Halong Bay is a world heritage site, consisting of massive rock formations which emerge from the waters of Northern Vietnam. Legend has it that long ago, the Gods sent a family of dragons to help the Vietnamese people defend their land against foreign invaders. The term Ha Long literally means "where the dragon descends into the sea" and it is said that the lashing of the tails during the fierce rampage caused the rock formations to appear to form a defence against invaders (another account, however, claims that it was the jade and jewels spouting from their mouths which turned into rocks upon hitting the water). It is claimed that the family of dragons liked earth so much that they stuck around and are still to be found in the waters today. I don't suppose the legend of a mythical creature still lurking here or there ever did much harm for tourism.
The site is quite huge, there's literally thousands of rocks emerging from the water. It's quite magnificent to behold and people generally hire a boat for a night or two in small groups, spending a night on the water. Which is what we did. It was gloriously peaceful out there and in a travelly type way (you know when you're being travelly when you have the same converstaions over and over with people and you're all looking for a "new experience" as opposed to just a nice day), we went kayaking and swimming, made friends and got drunk, so it was a good time all round and a much needed respite from everyday Vietnam.