1.13.13: So Long Ha Long

After a long, restful sleep, we’re awoken at 6 am with a rousing musical morning anthem inviting everyone to rise and greet the new day. And the sun is shining!

First up is a visit to Sung Sot Cave, aka Amazing Cave, passing floating fishing villages, floating shops and more incredible scenery along the way. Tun leads us up and then down into the cave and yes, it is amazing… a bit like the set of some weird sci-fi B-movie but filled with tourists instead of alien life forms. Tun points out all the penis-shaped rock formations as well as lucky turtles, baby dragons and monkeys climbing trees to heaven.

Safely back on the Classic Sail, there’s time for some lolling around, watching the dozens of tourist boats jockey for position around the Rooster Rocks, and more eating. During lunch, the crew is already preparing our cabins for the next wave of passengers, arriving as soon as we step off the boat at noon. For all the commerciality of Ha Long Bay (and I really can’t imagine what it would be like here at high season with more than 5000 people visiting each day), it is an oddly lovely and soothing place, where 24 hours feels like more a week… So long, Ha Long… it’s been swell!

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Paolo Davanzo and Lisa Marr travel the world, sharing movies and music with the masses. At home in Los Angeles, they facilitate community screenings and workshops at the Echo Park Film Center, a non-profit media arts organization.

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