Bed bugs bite

We just arrived in the mountain top town of Sappa, by far my favorite place in Vietnam. Fewer people, fewer street hustlers (but not by much), and less traffic.

Our last night in Hanoi we went to see a water puppet show that was the highlight of the stay. We then took a cyclo around the old quarter which is essentially the tightest streets packed with people and ministores, very blade runner. I finally figured out if a woman is riding a nice Vespa she is a prostitute as quality of scooters reflect status and wealth. The humid heat in Hanoi was beyond explanation, essentially you walk out the hotel door and your sweating instantly. I'm useless in the day and at night it's not cool but rather warm and sticky. The cities of Vietnam are like trying to function in a greenhouse full of smog. We eat dinner at a place called the City View Cafe overlooking a mini lake that people walk around. After we jump into a cab to pick up some outfits that were custom made for Jess and Em. Turns out the place we need to go is literally across the street, the cab driver decides to screw us and drive us around the old quarter then drop us off a little bit back so we don't know where we are. I look up and see the City View Cafe sign, we laugh at our stupidity. This is a common scenario in Vietnam, you are nothing but a walking cash cow to these people. They have no sense of return business as they try to screw you out of as much as possible from the get go.

Our hotel sets us up on a good price to Ha Long Bay, one of the wonders of the world. Turns our they under quoted Jess by $100 each person the day of. Again we eat it and take the tour knowing it's an opportunity that simply can't be missed. Our very slow driver takes us there but half way stops at a tourist trap/store that sells the usual crap. After a while you see the same stuff everywhere, haggling is a must. We finally get to the emerging city of Ha Long where everyone goes to hit the bay and see what is a mountain range where only the tips of the mountains protrude from the water. We stay overnight on a 3 story boat that has sails that are not used for any purpose but show. They feed us like crazy, but no one barely touches the chicken as everyone is afraid of bird flu. Again the heat is unbearable, I hide in the shade and look for a fan. They take us to caves that have amazing features inside, very goudi-esque, super humid hot inside and very crowded with tourists. All the boats stay very close to each other so it's not the most tranquil experience but a must none the less. The water is heavily polluted, for the Vietnamese littering is a common practice, but I do see some jellyfish.

gotta run up the hill to see some singing, this could mean anything, I'll try to avoid all the sales hustlers ahhhhhh!

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