Having too much fun to post . . . .

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It has been a hectic three weeks; a four night trip to Sa Pa with my big sister.

The day of our return saw the arrival of her youngest daughter, the incredibly gorgeous Ingrid on a break from her studies in her first year of Uni after a Gap year.

We had a lot of fun, although commuting between the cat's house in Chua Lang and our apartment in Quan Thanh was presenting something of a logistical and time challenge, as the approximately 6km journey was undertaken in invariably heavy traffic.

A few days later, the 'boys' arrived, Sam (10) and Paul (30-something) from Canberra. My motor scooter skills are improving no end as I pillioned Bob the 40-odd kms to the airport, and rode home in the dark along the speeding traffic of the freeway while Bob and the boys travelled to the apartment in a taxi.

The next few days were spent visiting the Water Puppets (surprisingly good!), eating a great deal of good food, and becoming extremely competant at ferrying around Ingrid, Sam and my sister (or combinations of two, but never three at a time) around the streets of Hanoi on the back of the bike.

with organised tours and have done very few - the treks Bob and I did in Thailand and Laos 2 years ago were personally guided, as was the trip my sister and I took. This, however had a cast of - many - and there was much waiting around and it confirmed why I don't do tours. Our arrival at the wharf at HalongWhile the 3 boys, Bob, Paul and Sam went to Sapa, Ingrid and I took an overnight trip down to Halong Bay, a justified World Heritage listed are of natural beauty. I am not good City was reminiscent of herding sheep, with thousands of tourists being shepherded off, and then on to the flotilla of almost identical faux wooden hulled junks built for the tourist trade.

Despite my gloom at the tour group funk, once we were underway and the other boats started to thin out into the open bay and casts of the rocks jutting from the water, it all seemed worthwhile. A pleasant afternoon was spent cruising around the islands to the mandatory stop at a large, but crowded, cave system. We then spent an hour kayaking around the area, before stopping for swimming and mooring for the night.

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