Take the Scenic Route

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Houseboat Parties and the Joys of Reminiscing

I haven't yet christened my new place of residence with a decent party. Truth be told, the weather has still not quite made it to "lounging on the deck" yet.

Having a party on a houseboat sounds completely splendiferous, however, and I'm completely envious. Perhaps grounds for a little less bitching from the Cambridge quarter??

While I haven't been to a bonfide houseboat party, I did have a bit of an adventure in Halong Bay, Vietnam, and we did have some far too warm French wine before sleeping on the roof of a boat. Halong Bay has over a thousand limestone islands rising out of the water with steep cliffs on most sides and bush clad tops. It was truly beautiful, and a clear highlight of a sometimes stressful trip. Some of the touristier stuff wasn't so cool, but getting fresh scampi from the locals, and generally just cruising round and swimming was wicked. Ditto sleeping on the roof under the stars with the water lapping against the side of the boat.

One of the weird things was talking and observing this older Australian couple. They were in their fifties, with children about the same age as most of the rest of us. However, they were travelling and living in ways that most of the younger people weren't. We'd all read the lonely planet, and would go swimming kind of one at a time, so that your travelling companion could keep your gear safe. You see, the boats we were travelling on were slow as, and one of the speed boats could flip alongside, lift some stuff and zip off in a matter of seconds. At one point, one of these boats was along side, and the younger crowd were all freaking out and checking on their gear. The australian couple were downstairs haggling over the price for the scampi they were acquring. I really admired their ethic, and I suspect they ended up having a much better and more interesting holiday for it. They were travelling Vietnam in the opposite direction to us, so we took lots of advice from them on where to go.


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