Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ha Long Bay and The Perfect Push-up

This weekend is 4 days long, thanks to the two holidays on Thursday and Friday, which are Reunification Day and International Labor Day, respectively. We’re allowed 2 somewhat-corporate-sponsored vacations / outings, while we’re here, which means that my company pays U$50 of it. The in-country manager of the Australian NGO which facilitates the company program arranged a trip to Ha Long Bay, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for us. We left Thursday morning, drove 2 hours by bus from Haiphong to Ha Long Bay, and then boarded a boat on which we stayed overnight on Friday. Each of us got our own room on the boat (that’s right), including separate bathroom and plenty of nice new things in hotel-style boxes and wrappers – toothbrushes, soap, shower caps, etc. – to steal and augment our respective traveling supply stashes. Sweet

Ha Long Bay (click on picture to the left for photo album) is not only the site of stunning views of rock formations which jet out of the bay hundreds of meters into the air, forming a maze of obelisk-shaped forms through which tourist and local fishing boats navigate. It also has a number of extensive caves - we stopped at two different ones on separate days - which are just as jaw-dropping as the stone formations themselves.

The Ha Long Bay trip was probably one of the most rewarding outings of my life up to this point. I’ve seen a lot of pretty cool stuff, too. The trip was made even more rewarding, and hilarious, by our colleague Jean-Michel’s insistence that The Perfect Pushup is the most ingenious exercise machine ever created by man (I’m paraphrasing). While we were in the caves, another group came along, and the engine to their boat died and our captain agreed to drive them back to the dock. While we waited for them to come back from the cave, Jean-Michel was kind enough to demo The Perfect Pushup for us (“You have it here?!”, we said). Click on the photo to the left to see the photo album that documents the entire thing. I believe the photos speak for themselves.

And in case you’re still not convinced it’s worth a look: both our driver and the guide from the other group came by before we left, seemed interested in what we were doing, and so they tried it out, too. Neither of them spoke more than 5 words of English, I don’t think. The Perfect Push-up not only helps you increase the size of your biceps, it also serves as a bridge between cultures and across languages.

1 comment:

  1. Great story. Thinking of you all - and glad to hear it is going well!