Many things have happened since I arrived here on the 3rd of February 2015. My first impression when the airplane touched down and I got off was ‘what a beautiful view!’, next ‘why are we driving so slowly on the highway’ and finally ‘OMG! Bicycles are everywhere!”
It was very funny to feel first differences between countries Vietnam and Poland. Some people say that feeling is a culture shock.
I have had very amazing and inexpectable times for two months. During Tet holiday I was in Giáo xứ Ngọc Đỉnh – the hometown of our Vietnamese friends. It was unique chance to see how people here celebrate the most important holiday in the year.
The Tet holiday is a time devoted for family. During six days I visited many- many relatives in that village, and each day we eat festive meal. I can only say- was amazing! For more information about TET read best Clara’s article ❤
Giáo xứ Ngọc Đỉnh was the first place out of Hanoi which I visited. Almost one month later, at the 14th of March, second trip was going to become a reality. Direction: Cat Ba Island. It is the largest of the 366 islands that comprise the Cat Ba Archipelago. Place is famous of picturesque views, rocks and many kinds of seafood. But let’s start from the beginning.
Our pretty and smart Vietnamese friend Thanh invited me, Clara and Marta to her hometown Haiphong. I was very excited to go there. We set off on Friday of 14th March in the evening. It was raining. We took a taxi which pick us up to a bus station. I wasn’t surprised about crowd in the bus. People was standing and sitting on the plastic chairs through the aisle, during three hours. I know that when there are many people in one place things happen. Some woman had carsick and was suffering all way. Another was standing behind me and keeping her arm on my head and trying to sleep. It was quite funny.
When we arrived, first what we did was eating dinner. It was special meal served in Haiphong. Red nuddle, vegetables (e.g. lettuce, parsley) and seafood, fish or pork, everything in a soup. It was our second dinner, first we had eaten at home. When we finally reached the destination for this day, home of our friend, host welcomed us with jelly shrimps, which was our third dinner. When we saw that we only smiled to each other and I thought “to much good food for one evening”.
On Saturday we woke up before 6 a.m. and set off to Cat Ba. First, Thanh’s parents pick us up to the bus station by motorbike, then we went by bus, by boat and finally we could walk through Cat Ba Island. On the way there we met some British guy- Jonathan, who was backpacking and going to this island as well. In 20 minutes on the boat we had new member of trip team.
At 8 a.m. we was eating breakfast which we had taken from Haiphong. Bread, meat, vegetables, eggs and Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk, it was a feast.
After breakfast we took small boat and floated to island with cottages. We rent there three two sits kayaks. It was my first time in a kayak so you can imagine how it was. I was floating like zig zag.
When we was getting into kayak I turned around and suddenly saw Marta who was holding the bridge and her legs were in kayak far from bridge. She was supposed to fall into the water. Happily everything ended good. It was very funny seeing that situation so I didn’t stop laughing during next few minutes.
We were floating in kayaks around the rocks almost two hours, sometimes we stuck and had to went out of kayak to push it. We visited the Monkey Island but unfortunately we didn’t see any animal there. Our friend said that she had never seen monkey in this island, but it didn’t matter for us. We climbed on the rock to see beautiful views.
When our trip was going to end in the late afternoon we said goodbye to our backpacker’s friend and came back the same way : by boat and bus, finally by motorbike.
On Sunday we woke up at 7.a.m. and went to local market. There were many-many kinds of seafood: shrimps, shells, octopuses, calmars, most of them still alive. Of course we did some shopping and were taking photos there. Afterwards we had the most delicious lunch from fresh food. It took two hours to prepare it but taste was amazing. I have never eaten so much seafood.
Before lunch we took bicycles and rode to see local pagoda.
Cat Ba Island is situated near Ha Long Bay, place which is more touristic and crowded. I am going to come back to this province. It is what you must see.