Week 17: Ha Long Bay with My Ha Long Baes

Another week, another Monday. It’s crazy how quick time flies.

Monday morning started with a later wake up due to the previous night’s activities. So with a bit of a struggle Chris and I headed to Lifted for one of the best brunches that I had while in Vietnam. Unfortunately we got served an extra side of what we thought were free pancakes, but turned out to be a mix-up. Still a delicious meal nonetheless. For the rest of the day I hung out in my apartment to get some work done considering that evening we had another two birthdays to celebrate! I walked over to Sadie’s for some of her famous and absolutely delicious red wine risotto. This girl has cooked a meal for me in every country that we’ve been in so far and all the meals are AMAZING. It’s even more fun when the recipe calls for your favorite beverage 😉 So Sadie, Kat, Sara, Rachel, and I got together for a fun homemade girl’s dinner, which obviously called for Sara and I to run out and get more wine because as usual we underestimated ourselves. After barely leaving any leftovers we took an uber to join everyone for rooftop drinks in Kib and Gorka’s birthday honor. The rooftop had an amazing view of the city, but it wasn’t long before we packed up and went to our usual stomping grounds of Ne for some specialty made cocktails.

Tuesday was your typical workday with me sitting at a table for most of the day. To get a little more energy I decided to walk around the lake by the workspace, which as beautiful as it is, is disgustingly hot because: Vietnam humidity. I decided to do it anyways and thank god I did because I met the CUTEST 5 month old pug. Shocking how I didn’t just stay playing with him the rest of the day, but eventually I got back to work. Tuesday made.

On Wednesday the work theme continued, but the evening had more exciting events. I got to meet Sadie’s parents! A small group of us had a traditional Vietnamese dinner with them and then drinks back at their hotel. I immediately told Sadie that she is a spitting image of her mom with the way she talks and uses her hands. It’s the cutest. It’s great getting to meet parents and having a little taste of home (even if it’s not mine).

Thursday. Wake up. Work. Eat. Repeat. And don’t forget packing.

Friday we woke up early for our next adventure: Halong Bay! Halong Bay has always been a place I wanted to visit. I can’t tell you the amount of times the breathtaking pictures show up on my Pinterest feed. Bucket list item, for sure… and I was finally going to get to accomplish it! After a three-hour bus ride we got boated to our own boat-el for the next three days. Jake and I shottied roommates and unpacked our stuff into the room. First activity of the day was either getting a slow rowboat around the bay or kayaking in pairs. Obviously Jake and I choose to kayak together and so started our competition of having to be first wherever we kayak. After our kayaking excursion we got dropped off at a hidden beach area where we found Sadie and her parents! What a coincidence! We got to swim, sing at the top of our lungs, play a little beach volleyball and have the most perfect afternoon. Road sodas included of course. By the time we got back to our main boat, we were exhausted, but before a nap, we participated in a sunset happy hour and then laid down for a bit. Afterwards the group met back up for dinner, which as usual consisted of course after course of different flavors. For the rest of the night we hung out on the rooftop of the boat playing cards, doing aerial yoga moves (sorry Taryn!), and just chatting the night away.

On Saturday we rolled out of bed to eat our buffet breakfast and get ready for the day’s activities. Chris asked me what he should wear for the day and as usual I replied “a Hawaiian shirt, duh”. And that’s when he brought out his banana printed shirt. I was shocked. I ran up to my room to find out that Jake purchased a banana printed shirt as well and both of them were waiting for the perfect moment to surprise me (and Sadie, although she wasn’t with us) by officially joining the banana club. What a solid way to start the day. Although I didn’t bring my own banana dress with me (I can’t wear it without Sadie!) I had my watermelon printed shirt and so Fruit Salad Saturday had officially begun. We boarded another boat for the day and brought everything we needed. It was Kat’s birthday so we started off the trip by singing Happy Birthday. She hated it. So we decided we would sing on the hour, every hour. She hated that even more. We continued doing it, and by the tenth time we finally decided we should probably stop. Sorry Kat, it was done out of love!! We spent the rest of the day out on the water, kayaking once more to a little beach. There we went swimming and played some aggressive games of chicken. Unfortunately in Halong Bay, you can only swim in designated areas/beaches because of the sheer quantity of jellyfish that are in the water. So while a bit worrisome to encounter a jellyfish again (ask me about that story when you have a chance) it was fun to cool down splashing around in the water. Once we returned to our boat-el we played some phase 10 and then classed ourselves up for another sunset happy hour. The sky turned all sorts of oranges and pinks. The cliffs were massive. I needed to be pinched to believe what I was seeing was real. It was an incredible sunset and I was lucky to be surrounded by some of my remarkable tramily members. Another dinner, some more wine, a lot of loud karaoke, squid-fishing (squishing) for pineapples, and ending the night on the rooftop under the stars: cross off that Halong Bay bucket list item.

On Sunday we rolled out of bed once more for some breakfast and then to pack up our stuff for the trip back to Hanoi. After the hectic weekend, I needed to get some errands done at home. Later, I joined Chris for his last dinner in Hanoi since he was flying home that night. After saying goodbye, I headed home to spend the rest of the night in bed with Netflix. Relax mode on.

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