Ivan, Jennifer and I woke up in Ninh Binh on November 18, 2008. We had some banana pancakes. We rented a motorbike from the hotel and drove to Tam Coc. Here we hopped on a boat. It was an overcast day. There was a guy and a lady rowing the boat. We were going to see three different caves. The lady was talking to us. We had read that the ladies start bugging you to buy stuff later in the trip. Ivan seemed to have a plan about it. The caves were a little dark. I really enjoyed rowing through them. We saw other women on boats passing by. Some of the women could row with their feet.
Ivan thought that would be great for the thighs. Ivan kept chatting to the lady on our boat. He whispered to us that she’s just pretending to be rowing. A woman who was selling various things started following us on her boat. The views were really nice.
After we saw all three caves, the woman tried to sell us things. We refused but she kept asking. Ivan told her he would show her something. He began showing her a magic trick. Ivan is really good at magic.
Both ladies liked the trick. So, we were off to the beginning of our boat trip. The lady on our boat asked if we wanted to buy some t-shirts. But, we said we didn’t want to. Ivan started to talk to her about her family. She showed us pictures of her husband and her three grown children. She asked us towards the end of the trip to buy something. We didn’t though. I guess she wasn’t that aggressive or she liked chatting to us. Maybe she liked Ivan’s magic trick. We got off the boat. We went in search for a place to eat some lunch. We had some lunch which wasn’t that special. I was a little peeved that there was no banana dishes on the menu. Good thing Jennifer packed a few bananas for me. I worked on the blog at the hotel. We were waiting around for our sleeper bus. We boarded the bus around 9:45 pm. We were off to Hue. The bus ride wasn’t as bumpy as our last sleeper bus. But, Jennifer and I weren’t close to Ivan at all.
We woke up early on the bus on November 19, 2008. We arrived in Hue around 8 am. Hue is pronounced ‘Way’. We took two motorbikes to the Holiday Hotel. We were told that we should have some breakfast (which was complimentary with the room) while we waited for our room. The breakfast was an egg omelet and toast. I had to beg the cook to add some bananas to my omelet. I didn’t want to go hungry! The food was alright. We checked into the room. We were welcomed with beds covered with rose petals. How sweet! I took a great picture with a rose.
I asked if I could put it on Match.com, but Jennifer wasn’t having that. She said I was still too young for a girlfriend. I just wanted a traveling monkey partner of my own.
Later, we walked to the Mandarin Cafe for some lunch. It was good food. We went to Cafe on Thu Wheels. They were real nice. We booked a motorbike tour for the next afternoon. We chilled at the hotel for awhile.
We had set up through couchsurfing to meet up with a local girl named Thao. She met us at our hotel and then we walked to a local restaurant. Here we ordered some local food. She got shrimp since Ivan doesn’t eat beef or pork. I got a few dishes with banana. The dishes had this sticky rice gel. It was really good! Thao was very nice. She’s attending college for Korea and English. She plans to work as a translator in Korea. We walked to a cafe to have some drinks. The back area was really nice. But, the weather wasn’t very good. It started raining so we went inside. Ivan was enjoying a local rum. Jennifer had a coffee with milk and it gave her a headache. I had a cup of banana tea. Ivan started showing Thao and people in the cafe some magic tricks. Ivan made sugar from a sugar packet disappear. Later, he made it appear in Thao’s hood in her jacket. It was a good night. Thao said she would show us around tomorow. We went back to the hotel and got some sleep.