Thursday, October 27, 2011

Do Son Beach, VAIE, dinner, karaoke and party, party, party

THURSDAY, 27th October

Today was huge. Bright and early the boys arrived to take us to Do Son Beach for the day... all doubled up on bikes, of course... Khanh and Katie, Will and Lan, Panda and Tinh, Tinh and Huien, and me behind Xuan. I took this photo over my shoulder as we left home
How cool is that photo without looking?

When we got to Do Son, Xuan took the lead, crying "Follow me!"

We rode past the main beach and eventually ended up at a deserted part of the beach with back-hoes loading trucks.

Needless to say, we didn't stay there long! Xuan was out-voted and we headed over to the lookout. It's a steep walk up the hill, but well worth the effort. Here's a couple of group shots we took on the way up.
Panda and Xuan on the wall, Katie, Khanh, Tinh, Huien, Tinh, Lan and Will.
Then Khanh took one including me.

This resort has been under construction for quite a while.
That little cove is the beach where I swam when I came here with Ian and Leslie and the church class crew back in August.

We stopped for lunch at the top - fresh banh mi dipped in sweetened condensed milk... sticky and sweet, but tasty... washed down with water. It was a great photo opportunity, so we took lots.
Xuan and his sister, Lan

Will and Xuan


Annie! Look at me!

It was very windy up there, so we soon started down, going through the 'zoo'. At the top end, there are several cages with birds and animals indigenous to the area. They all looked to be well cared for, but the cages were so small and bare.
a pheasant and peacocks
These little animals looked like rodents... they are Nhím.
The locals were bemused by Katie's affection for the 'puppy'.
The chicks in this brood were a gorgeous array of colours.
This bear had a most luxurious coat,
but like the monkeys, had no room to move around.

We were all charmed with this baby monkey. She was small enough to slip through the bars of her cage, and she was very friendly... and cute as...


She loved being tickled on her tummy

On my video, you can actually hear her chuckling... but sadly, it won't upload.

 Katie was playing 'photographer'...

Boys will be boys!

The concrete animal statues are one of the features of this park.

These are characters under construction are from the movie 'Madagascar'.

This is the swing bridge.

Will couldn't resist this female brontosaurus reaching up to the swing bridge...
OK Will...enough!
Tinh wasn't so bold.

They're up to the finishing touches on the pagoda near the new holiday cabins.

Perched on the side of the hill, the cabins have a wonderful view.

On a clear day you can see many islands.

When we got to the beach it was quite windy, but the boys were going swimming, so I went across the road to a changing pavillion and put on my swimmers. Katie said she wasn't swimming...
    but posed for a photo with Tinh.
 Xaun was to be next for a photo but push came to shove..

surprise, surprise.

Will was laughing so hard, he got to share the love

So Katie ended up swimming after all...

Pity she wasn't enjoying herself...
  ... well... not much ...

Tinh, Katie, Khanh, me, Will, and the other Tinh.

We had hired an umbrella on the beach

complete with deck chairs and a table.
Very comfortable...

Will drying out in the sun... "I'm ready for my close-up Mr DeMille!"

While others rugged up and huddled trying to keep out of the wind.

We drove past the fighting buffalos statue...  (There is a very popular festival held here every year on the 9th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar.)

and the boat sculpture


What a great outing. Here we are about to ride back to Hai Phong... quite a crew!

It was mid-afternoon when we got home, so Katie and I walked to VAIE, pointing out people and places along the way. When we got to school only a few of the teachers were there and of course they were busy preparing for the evening's classes, so I gave Katie a guided tour and we said our good-byes and walked home the other way... quite a long walk when you're not used to it!

At 7:30 we caught a taxi and picked Gene up after her class and went to Quan Ngon Restaurant. Becki was already there.

Once again we enjoyed fabulous food and beaut company.

  ... dessert.

I will really miss Vietnamese food... it is so deliciously fresh and tasty without being heavy. We will try to cook it at home, but that is never quite the same. We said good-bye to Gene and Becki and made our way home, but that was far from the end of the evening... Khanh and Xuan came and picked us up and took us to a Karaoke bar. Will had finished work for the evening, so he came too. Panda and three of his friends also joined us.
 Tinh and me

We hired this room for a couple of hours. They play whatever songs you request from the list. Of course, the majority are Vietnamese songs, which makes it even more fun. There are two microphones (VERY loud), and a big flatscreen, and mood lighting. You help yourself to the drinks and snacks and they count up the empties at the end of the session. It's pretty hysterical.

By then it was midnight - time for me to crash and leave the young'n to party on. And party on they did! Will had been invited to a house-warming party for some other teachers, so Katie, Khanh and Xuan joined him. It was about 1am when they arrived in time to see a policeman at the door. Discretion being the better part of valour, Khanh kept on going. Apparently there had been a noise complaint, so the police came and forced all the Vietnamese guests to leave the party. They have a very sorry reputation for bribery and corruption, so wherever possible the locals keep well clear. Katie and the boys had a drink at a street bar around the corner and laid low for half an hour till the coast was clear.
So even though the house looked shut up for the night, the party raged inside till the wee small hours. The funniest thing happened when they finally came home at 4am. As Katie and Khanh pulled up at the gate they could see our house mate in the kitchen starkers... just lovely! It was all the boys could do to keep from hooting out loud. They waited around the corner till the coast was clear before coming in. Katie had to wake me up and tell me all about it... if she had to witness such a shuddering sight, she reckoned I had to share the experience... lovely!

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