The weekend began on Friday night, where Hue and I spent about 3 hours discussing the big questions in life and pretty much having a huge dnm. It was really awesome. When we talk, there's hardly any problem caused by the language barrier. Over the past 2 weeks, she really has become like a best friend to me, and I'll never forget her kindness, even once the exchange is over. Well now that soppy bits over, I shall continue with my tale. It was an early morning on Saturday... 5 am. Well, it was meant to be up at 5, for a 5:40 departure, but I was awoken at 5:35, so time was limited . Anyway, we got on the mini bus that the three families had hired, and we went to pick gaby and Angela's families, and we were off. It took about 3 hours to get there, but at about half way we stopped at a big restaurant cafe thing for some phó noodles and a bathroom break. However, when I saw the bathrooms, I decided I could hold on. There were little squat toilets, all in a row, with no doors or walls between them. Now I love the Vietnamese people, but not enough that I'm prepared to share that experience with them. Anyway, getting back on the bus, we had about 10 Vietnamese people come up and take our photos and yell to us and wave. I've never felt more like a celebrity. Anyway back on the bus and an hour and a half later, we arrive at our beautiful, very western styled hotel. There was a slight problem we faced though. Being non-vietnamese, gab, Angela and myself needed to provide visa and passport details, or else we weren't allowed to stay in the hotel. I think it's almost funny that no one else had to do this, but, being foreign, or 'tây"as the Vietnamese say, we had to provide proof that we are allowed in the country, and our visas wont expire during our one night stay. Now, not being told any of this, none of us brought our passports, and I knew my number, but not my other passport details and it was all a bit of a disaster. However, gaby saved the day when she remembered she had an email with all that info in it, so, end of the day, we didn't have to sleep on the bus, yay! That afternoon, we went to a beach, and frolicked on the sand for a few hours, taking photos and absorbing some vitamin D. Oh, and I dropped my camera. In the sand. So it doesn't work. Angry would be an understatement. However, I now have a reason to buy a new camera ( mine was, while reliable and sturdy, a 3 year old brick). Luckily Gab and Ange both have pretty hard core cameras so I can get lots of pics off them. That night, we went out to a seafood restaurant. We had lots of yummy food, and the prospect of snails finally caught up to us, and we tried them. As well as mussels. Mussels weren't too bad and snails were... interesting. Very chewy. After that we went to the Ha Long night markets then headed to the hotel. We got straight into bed once we got back, cause we were pretty tired.
The next morning, we had a western and Vietnamese breakfast. Then headed off to get on the boat for a cruise around the bay. We'd heard how the boats are a little reckless with their driving but we weren't too worried. The boat took off and I was literally stunned by the beauty of the bay. On Saturday morning it had been announced as one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, so we went on a great weekend. Anyway, we got off the boat on one of the 300 hundred islands and got to walk through this amazing cave. It was huge and seemed to go on and on. It was lit with coloured spotlights to increase the impressiveness of it all. Back on the boat, we continued along the bay. It was here that the driving ability of our captain came into question, when we were taking a photo and he wasn't watching where we were going, so we were only about 10 metres from a rock island, and the quick turn we did to avoid the rock, landed us facing another boat and missing it by about 1 metre. After recovering from that, we had some lunch. Fresh fish that we had watched being taken from the net and beaten with a club til it died. Now, I'm the furthest thing from a vegetarian, but even I felt a little guilty when this fish was placed in front of me. But, honestly it was delicious. Probably the best fish I've ever had. Murder has never been to tasty. I feel like a terrible person for saying that.
Anyway, we're half way through eating, I'm looking out the window, and I hear this screaming. After hearing it a few times, I say "can anyone hear that screaming?". Five seconds later, CRASH! The boat shakes and we realize that we've hit another boat. Just a small fishing boat, and at first we thought that the people on the boat were in serious trouble, and that we'd turned their little boat into kindling. However, we reversed and the boat was, while bent a bit, relatively unharmed, as were the people on it. They followed us and came aboard, and it was, needless to say, a little scary.
Once we were back on dry land, we got on the bus to head home. An hour or so into the trip, we hit a traffic jam, which meant the what should be 3 your trip, took over 7. Fun times all around.
Now you read the title of this post and were probably very confused. Well firstly, I'd just like to say that this is one of those awkward times when someone tries to explain their in-joke to you, and all you can think is "wow... That's really not that funny". Well, you had to be there. Anyway, firstly, about a week ago, ange and I were using an app on my iPad to make your voice squeaky, and we were giggling and I said that she was cheating on her boyfriend Johnny.... With Johnetta. So that's how Johnetta happened. And somehow in the past week, i took over the alter ego, of being Johnetta, Angela's secret girlfriend.
Anyway, on the way home we stopped at a restaurant, which we later found out was a goat restaurant. So we ate goat, well I did, but the other girls weren't so eager. Anyway, by this point in the day, we were so overtired, we'd gotten ourselves into a dreamlike, everything-is-funny, almost drunkenlike state of tiredness, where nothing made sense, but it did make us laugh. Somehow the joke of my being Johnetta, turned into me being Johnetta the goat. Upon reflection, it was definitely funnier last night. But not only did we eat goat, I partook in a food that should've had warning bells when no one would tell me what part of the pig it came from. But, being in the state of mind that I was, I had a bite and downed it with coke, to later find out it was the small intestine of the pig. Nearly 5 minutes after eating it, when i found this out, I nearly threw up. I was disgusted that hue hadn't warned me. Regardless, I survived it, and am alive today, so it was obviously edible. In terms of new foods, I had an interesting weekend.
Our family got dropped off at 11, and I have never been so tired in my life. Today at school we've decided to not go to classes, but to sleep and prepare a presentation we have to give to year 10 tomorrow. So I will get on with that now, and leave you with some pictures to tide you over til my next post.
XOXO gossip goat
|some of the rocks in the cave|
|View from Hotel|
|My beautiful host sister|
|Chilling on the boat|
|This guy wanted my photo. I posed for his camera... then mine.|
|We could totally pass for sisters|
|the three girls at Ha Long|