On to Vietnam.
Hanoi: The Old Quarter of the city is full of character, and it was fun to experience a brand new culture. Walking across the street takes some getting used to, but the broad philosophy is quite simple: Just start walking and the traffic will flow around you. It’s a great way to get the adrenaline flowing and it literally keeps you on your toes. The narrow, crowded streets were also unfortunately full of cigarette smokers (a filthy and extremely inconsiderate habit) so we were more than happy to move on after a couple days.
Ha Long Bay: We took a 3-day boat cruise through Ha Long Bay and enjoyed every minute of it. When we first saw our boat, Ty immediately began to question the seaworthiness of the vessel. Luckily, it was quite nice (just in need of a new exterior paint job). The oncoming monsoon season enshrouded the bay with a slight mist, making the experience even more surreal. We visited several small islands, caves, and villages, and anxiously awaited the incredible sunsets every night. The bay’s thousands of islands were truly breathtaking. Ty’s favorite part was kayaking through caves leading into bays only accessible at low tide. The whole experience was perfect…except for that time when three drunk Australians in the cabin next door got into a crazy fight in the middle of the night.