A bay that could be a paradise?

Blog Update Vietnam 13 January Day 6

Halong Bay
An early but rushed start. We seem to be settling into these late Vietnam starts in the morning. Johann contemplated doing a trip to Halong Bay without any luggage. His resolution lasted until we got to the bus.

Stopped off at a tourist shop. Production workshop – manned by disabled people, predominantly due to Agent Orange. (Unverified)
1945 – 95% population unable to read. 
Homeless people not visible 
70% live in rural areas and subsistence farmers. Low taxes. Low unemployment. 

The New Economic Foundation “Happy planet index” on Sustainable living ranked Vietnam as number two in the world in 2012. 
Tour guide assured us that the Vietnamese no longer harbour any hatred to the French, Americans or Chinese (admitted that there is always conflict with the Chinese, but not hatred!). 1000 years of North domination (by the Chinese)

One party state. No weapons allowed. Expenditure issues of the central party – sounds like normal discontent that most of us have towards our respective governments. No gambling allowed for locals. Only tourists. 
The sun appeared briefly when we arrived at the coast
Even with the high traffic density (90million people in 300 000sqkm) Road rage does not seem to exist here. There is constant hooting but no one seems to become irritated while driving / riding. 
Kien- the talkative tour guide for the four hour trip from Swan cruises enlightened us further on the history of the area. 

We crossed over the Red river delta, which flows from China. High in Aluvia which enriches the soil and accounts for the higher than average coffee and rice production which makes them the most exported products in the region. 
Afternoon activities (between eating) was kayaking and trying to avoid the coral. Due to low tide the coral was visible just below the surface. 

On returning to the boat for a quick swim – tourists are no longer allowed to jump of the third deck. I’m guessing some tourists managed to injure themselves doing this st dome stage. 
Supper. History lesson. 

Squid fishing. Beginners luck played a big role here and I managed not to get any of the ink from the squid on the deck. 
Discussion topics for the day: medical treatments that have been turned on their heads due to evidence. 

Discussion over dinner. Palentologist who specialises in reptiles 120 million years old. Diesel mechanic from Switzerland who had his license taken away for three months for going 34km/h over the speed limit

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