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By kanannie

Lowered Expectations in Halong Bay

On 15, Jun 2014 | 4 Comments | In Activities, Culture, Travel, Vietnam | By kanannie


Gorgeous Halong Bay.

A good college friend once described to me a tour she took to the Yangtze River. Her advice if I ever decided to go was to never look down, because the smelly water was filled with garbage. She concluded matter-of-factly in the way she does that, “As long as you don’t look down, you’re fine.” Lowered expectations.


Polluted water.


Fishing boat in the water.

This was exactly how I felt in Halong Bay, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. And it would be a wonder, if it weren’t for the vast amounts of trash in the water. By this time, I was used to just how much the Vietnamese like to litter. They think nothing of finishing a bottle of soda and then tossing it out of the window of buses, taxis and trains. I tried to hand someone in a store a plastic safety seal from a bottle of water to throw away for me, and she pointed down, as in, “Throw it on the floor, where it will be swept up someday and will end up choking a baby seal to death in the ocean when it mistakes it for food.”


You are responsible for my death!

We knew some of what to expect of Halong Bay. We knew how overpriced the cruises were in relation to the delivered product and services, and how you have to really lower your expectations. Because as a blogger wisely pointed out, “The Vietnamese will promise you the world, but will only deliver broken dreams.”


A warm welcome from the ass end.


The side deck of the boat.


The deck of the boat. Other cruise boats had awnings or umbrellas but ours didn’t so no one was ever on the deck during the day.


The deluxe double room with the hardest mattresses you will ever sleep on.


A tiny but clean bathroom.

N and I had opted for the two-night three-day tour — which tacks on an extra night in top of the tour that most tourists go on — after talking to a solo American traveler who told us that the extra day really made up for the shitty herding around she experienced the first day.


The Aclass Opera itinerary, which is exactly the same as every other cruise’s.


Being shuffled around from one place to another.


Hurry up and get your ass on the boat!


Being paddled around the rocks.


Entering a cove.

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