Given any opportunity the Intrepid team will head off to wild and wonderful corners of our world. Sarah Moore from our NZ team has recently jumped aboard Intrepid’s Reunification Express and her journey continues on Day 3 in Vietnam…
“Everyone was looking forward to today – we’d all heard so much about Halong Bay with its emerald waters and unusual jutting islands. But first it was all aboard the Intrepid bus for a trip to the Blue Dragon Charity – another institution set up to help disadvantaged children earn an education.
We were welcomed into a beautiful building decorated with children’s art and brought upstairs to a breakfast of thick coffee, cakes and fruit (including the popular dragon fruit – a watery but tasteless produce specked with seeds that look identical to black sesame seed. Huong assured us that dragon fruit is very delicious and refreshing, but I’m not sure she’s going to secure any devotees on this tour).
An Australian employee who has resided in Vietnam for nine years gave us the background on the charity, showed us a heart-breaking yet inspiring DVD that bought tears to the eyes of half of our group (me included) and then introduced us to the three gorgeous boys who had prepared our breakfast and then entertained us with a guitar recital and enthusiastic drumming performance. We were, of course, invited to join in the drumming but none of us could keep up. Many of us purchased jewellery made by the children – the money is put back into the charity and is also given to the young ‘artist’.
Back aboard the bus, we began our journey to Halong Bay. Our boat was a beauty – Huong had told us it was a floating hotel and she was right – the rooms were nicer than our hotel the night before! We were whisked straight to a seafood lunch aboard the boat as it headed out to the islands, then spent a leisurely hour or two cruising around the islands. After anchoring we went onshore to explore a section of the many limestone caves.
After another seafood feast we settled in for the night – enjoying (?!) some atrocious karaoke, the Miss Universe 2008 DVD held in Vietnam and a beer or two all underneath a truly spectacular moon!”
Sarah’s blog will continue in Express over coming weeks, and you can click here to read her last installment. So jump on board Intrepid’s Reunification Express and travel with Sarah from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City!