I haven't posted in a couple of days because by the time I get in at night I am so tired that all I want to do is sleep & I've had to get up early in the mornings.
Friday was about as exciting as Thursday. I got up & went to a meeting then went back to the hotel & worked until dinner. We went to a Thai resturant off of the bay. Several of the people from our Bangkok office went to dinner with us & did all of the ordering. I thought the food was delicious; they thought it was only probably about 60%.
Saturday I had to get up VERY early (4:30 am early) so that I could get everything packed up & ready to leave for the airport at 6:00 am. We flew to Hanoi, where we were picked up by a driver from the factory & went straight to the factory & started working. We spent the afternoon looking at mockups of the product I am in charge of. After the end of the day, I started to feel better, that my product is actually going to work. We spent 3 hours talking at the factory bar with the owner because he can't stop talking. (And yes, the factory has a bar area in it.)
While at the bar, I met a Vietnemese Australian. It is very interesting to see someone who looks Vietnemese but talks with a heavy Australian accent. And we heard stories about some of the factory workers who were working during the Vietnam war, where they had to work underground by candlelight. And listen to the factory owner talk about how diverse he is while talking down about women, Americans, Vietnemese & pretty much everyone.
This morning we had to get up early because the factory was taking us out for something fun. They had said the place where they were taking us, but we had no idea what it was. We had a 3 hour car ride to get to the day's activity. Riding in a car is always an experience here. It is kind of like an organic dance of sorts. The roads are marked with lanes, but no one pays attention to them. People are walking, riding bicycles, riding scooters and riding in cars all on the same road. Everyone is swerving around each other & weaving together while somehow managing to never hit anything. All this to the music of honking horns & flashing lights.
And you see the most interesting things while driving. Today I saw a dead cow tied to the back of one motor bike. And 2 live pigs in baskets with a dead pig over the top of the baskets on the back of another motor bike. I couldn't manage to get good pictures, but several other people took pictures so hopefully I will be able to post some tomorrow so you can see what it actually looks like.
After a 3 hour car ride, we arrived at Halong Bay. It was amazingly beautiful. There were these huge little islands sticking out of the water.
We had a private boat which took us on a tour around the islands. The boat was very old looking. I didn't get any pictures of our boat, but it looked similiar to the boats below.
Before lunch we went to the fresh fish market. You would think that this would be a market on land, right? But it's not. There are these homes on the water that the boat pulls up to & you climb out & pick your fish from the tank areas they have. They picked a dragon squid for us.
Lunch was amazing; we had fresh shrimp, clams, crabs, grouper, the dragon squid and some other seafood as well. There was WAY too much food. The picture shows only a portion of the dishes. And this was food for only 4 people!
After lunch we pulled up to an island where we went on a tour of Hang Dau Go cave. It is a huge cave of stalagtites & stalagmites. But not like the ones I've seen in Carlsbad caverns. These were actual rock. Unfortunately, the camera I have from work does not take good pictures without the flash or in dark areas. So I do not have any pictures :(
Then we got back on the boat & went back to the harbor. And sat in the car again for 3 hours. After taking a shower to scrub off the layers of sunscreen, bug spray, sweat & dirt, I feel human again. It was a fun day!