Loads of Dirt, Sweat, and Fun

Cat Ba Island Travel Blog

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Waiting, waiting, aaannd more waiting (in the heat)

A loud knock woke us up at a shocking quarter to seven from our sleep this morning, the captain demanding we all check out of our cabins. With the prospect of a sweaty jungle walk on Cat Ba Island ahead of us, I didn't bother taking a shower and quickly packed my bags and was out in the dining area of the boat for breakfast, which was a meager toast and banana, but it worked nonetheless. A short-ish ride to Cat Ba Island brought us to a long-ish wait once we actually got to the island, with all of us noticing the trend of being asked to wait for an indefinite amount of time absolutely everywhere we go. After several comments that we could have walked there by now, about an hour after we arrived and sat in the sweltering heat, we were finally picked up by a bus and transported way farther than any of us had imagined-this island has a proper city, complete with a night market, resorts, too many guesthouses to count, and a beautiful beach littered with hundreds, if not thousands of Vietnamese tourists.

Drive from the shore to our "jungle walk" aka really steep, slippery climb

While we did make it to our guesthouse, we didn't make it before stories of one of the other boats' captains breaking into a room and touching a girl, then denying it when her boyfriend confronted him, and an Irish guy having his money and camera stolen from his room while he slept. This news, of course, pissed everyone off, and the Irish guy who'd been robbed kept insisting that it took everything he had not to deck the guy-not so much of what he did to him, but what he did to the poor French girl. The "jungle walk" turned out to be a fairly strenuous climbing adventure up a pretty steep, rocky, and slippery mountain.

Several girls only had flip-flops to do the climb with so they ended up going the easy way, while the rest of us struggled, huffed, and grasped desperately for rocks and secure trees we could heave ourselves up with.

Walking to the base of the mountain
While the climb was fairly difficult, it was very rewarding, with absolutely stunning views of almost the entire, lush green island. Getting up the observatory at the very top was definitely a trip as it was made of metal and completely rusted through at some points. This definitely wasn't a view for the faint of heart, but it was worth every second of praying that I wouldn't somehow have a rung collapse below my feet. After a much needed shower as I was absolutely drenched with sweat and covered with smeared mud, we had a bit of a rest, then all met up at nine for a few drinks. We went to a locals disco which was fairly entertaining as the only two guys talking to us must have been on coke or something, then to two other local's corner beer hang-outs, all of which seem to serve the same Hanoi Bier by the pitcher for cheaper than I'd get a domestic draft back home. All in all-a great day!

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Waiting, waiting, aaannd more wait…
Waiting, waiting, aaannd more wai…
Drive from the shore to our jungl…
Drive from the shore to our "jung…
Walking to the base of the mountain
Walking to the base of the mountain
After a death-defying climb, about…
After a death-defying climb, abou…
Nothing but green every direction!
Nothing but green every direction!
Thick cover of rainforest on the w…
Thick cover of rainforest on the …
Cat Ba Island
photo by: Stevie_Wes