Day 27

Return to the big smoke.

Up for 0700 breakfast and then 0810 check out, boat transfer to Cat Ba Island and then 1 hour bus ride to wharf for our cruise of Ha Long Bay. This is where our tour took a wrong turn.

We split again from our other travel friends and went on a boat all by ourselves. When all the other boats started to leave the wharf we were left doing circles of the wharf. We got a bit suspicious but thought we were waiting for other people from other resorts. But no one arrived and then we finally left, a family of 4, to fill a big boat.

Anyway we were underway and happy. Then we realised our boat was going a different way to the boat in front but the scenery was very nice so we just rolled with it, till we realised that we had missed the Dog Bar Islet and Fighting Cock Island. These were supposed to be part of our tour.

Killing time waiting to leave the wharf, Ha Long Bay.

Killing time waiting to leave the wharf, Ha Long Bay.

Had a little go at the main man as we transfer across the channel. He made a phone call and was very apologetic and offered us a complementary sprite. But it was not what we had been offered and frustration kicked in possibly due to sleep deprivation.


We arrived on the mainland at 1145 we were supposed to be touring the islands until 1300. Very frustrated and lunch was served, we were left eating lunch on the boat alongside the wharf. We had missed all of these rock formations and then headed straight back to the mainland. We were then ushered to our transfer tour bus.

The boat crew copped both barrels as we left and then the tour guide for the bus home copped it also, but he explained it best that he was just our transfer back and that we would have to address it with our tour originator. Then it clicked that either we had not been arranged the last day of the tour as per the itinerary was set out. Summer and I discussed it and our level of frustration grew as it was suspicious but we didn’t say anything until we hit the channel, but then it was too late to turn around. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

As we were driving down the freeway, we saw a tour bus broken down with all the western tourists standing in the middle of the road, luggage out of the storage compartments and what looked like waiting for another bus. That gave us a reality check, we are all safe and well in a very nice bus back to Hanoi. We no longer complained about the missed islands on the return leg.

Our bus arrived in Hanoi 1630 and we checked back into our same room in the hotel. It was great how smooth the weekend went with all the transfers we did over the weekend and we ended up back were we were supposed to be. Even though it rained the whole time, it was still a very enjoyable 3 days and made a few mates along the way.

Day 28

Technology breakdown.

Down for breakfast at 0800 today needed to get a good go at school work today. Today we also decided to take our tube of vegemite down for the staff to have a try. Some of the reactions were just gold. The people here in our hotel at Hanoi are so nice they looked after us with early check out, check back in, airport transfer and we repay them by torturing them with vegemite which most of them spat out thinking we were not looking. The chef knew what vegemite was and ran away. We then had other foreigners in the restaurant have a crack at the vegemite.

Vegemite is yum. NOT.

Vegemite is yum. NOT.

Pretty funny morning but back to school for the kids. It feels like we are playing catch up all the time with this.

While the kids knuckled down we arranged accommodation transfers in Hoi An and then got all the washing sorted and bags semi packed.

We then wanted to get a laptop before we depart Hanoi so we caught a cab to the larger FPT store out of town. We picked up a cheap laptop for Autumn to complete her school work so we could still work on the itinerary and blog. The computer was supposed to be ready 1 hour later as they uploaded the software. This turned into 1.5 hours and the store manager then said 2200 pickup. We declined and said could he drop off as we fly out the following day. He was very apologetic and said it would be delivered to the hotel. We walked away no computer and I was very sceptical we were not going to see the computer at all.

We caught a cab back to the hotel and then had some dinner in our local street. Returned to the room completed packing and then waited for the computer. It actually arrived 2200 on the dot. I was really surprised and I didn’t have to crack the sh*ts as much as I did about the hole computer thing (Summer just rolled her eyes posting this). Then we had some instructions, turned on the computer bow bow it was in Vietnamese. Not all the software had been uploaded correctly and Summer had to google translate to figure out what was going on. Summer has managed to get it going and Autumn is able to do her school work on it we just have to go to the FPT in Da Nang when we get there and have them complete the repair on the computer. All good went to sleep ready for an early check out.

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