• Tara B. Vasi

Day 18: Halong Bay to Hanoi. Thursday. 🎃 . Hanoi-ing. Expensive Nap. Sweet fluffy boi.

Updated: Nov 2, 2019

We left our luxurious hotel in Halong bay and rode the bus for four hours back to Hanoi. We stopped at the same rest area as we did on the way there, and I looked for my sweet angel puppy with the infected boob. I couldn’t find her, but I hoped she was ok.

I got a double cappuccino, two bananas, and some mango. Bryony’s not good at eating food sometimes, so I bought an extra banana for her in case she was hungry.

Even though people on social media have been dressing up for weeks now, I recognize that it is Halloween day and it’s an unusual experience to witness Halloween in Vietnam.

We mosey on our way and stop at a Peal Farm and learn about fucking pearls. (Can you sense how I feel about that?) Well, to expedite the pearl making process so that humans can make more money faster, humans split open an oyster and stick a “core” inside and close the oyster back up again. A core is a fake foreign object that becomes the center of the pearl. The oyster responds to the core as it would a grain of sand and begins to create the pearl to protects itself. It takes the oyster two years to make a pearl big enough to sell. They had bins and bins of oysters sitting around, working hard, to create pearls. Pearl farming is centuries old. It’s not a new thing. They sold a ton of pearl jewelry in the next room and had little martini classes full of water in the glass cases so the pearls didnt dry out. The woman asked me if I wanted a nice pair of pearl earrings, and I thought, I am not that kind of girl. I have no idea what that means, I guess I have just never been into pearls. They aren’t black enough, I suppose.

We finally left the fucking pearl farm and I celebrated with more caffeine which was exactly what someone needs half way through a 4 hour ride. I created some media for my retreat and wrote up yesterdays blog. The bus rides go by quickly when I write, but I usually get pretty nauseous. I close my eyes and meditate it out, and then allow the cycle to continue. My fan helps.

Sochea warns us about the next hostel, saying its super small, loud, and in the middle of the city. He says we are literally going to have to jump out the windows when the bus pulls up because the traffic will be so up our ass. He didnt say “up our ass” that’s just me paraphrasing. We pull up and I am ready for full blown evacuation and then devastation, but we roll up and park in peace, and then enter with no problem at all. Theres even a cute fluffy dog out front. The place seems nice.

All the ladies get one big dorm room with bunk beds. This level of estrogen in one place makes me a little nervous. We have a balcony overlooking the street and have a beautiful view of the excessive electrical wires. I love all the plants hanging from the balconies.

I appreciate the trees.

I do laundry and they make me write out each garment that is in my bag. I use the bathroom and they have a sign that says, “If you don’t want to stand in other peoples fucking shit, don’t flush the toilet paper down the toilet.” I really do not appreciate their tone.

Its lunch time in Hanoi and we go for an orientation walk around downtown Hanoi. The city is compact. Everything seems to sit on top of each other. Its super hazy and I am not sure if its cloudy, or pollution or both. The roads are narrow and the motorbike zip by and park on the side walk. Why do they even bother having stop lights? I don’t know if its just me, but I notice the Vietnam men snot rocketing, picking their nose, coughing, spitting, and clearing their throats in excess. I think back and recall this trend everywhere we have been in Vietnam so far, except Hoi An, because that place was just perfect.

We go to a BahnMi restaurant for lunch. A Bahn Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich in a baguette, typically made with pork and beef. I order a egg cheese avocado vegetable cilantro and chili sauce sandwich. Bahn- ME. It is so delicious and just as good as my Bahn Mi in Hoi An. I want to eat this every day for the rest of my life. I miss Hoi An though and the lanterns. It was much annoying.

I look down at the floor and see a wallet. I pick it up, open it to see the ID, and see that it belongs to the guy behind me. The wallet had cash falling out of it, and I hated myself at that moment for being a good person. God damn it, dude. Get it together.

We walked around some more and Sochea quizzed us on where our hotel was from here. I pointed in the wrong direction. Bryony knows where she’s going so I‘m good, I just can’t lose her. Plus I have my phone and Its never leaving my little sausage fingers again.

I didn’t take many pictures, because there weren’t really that many cool things to take pictures of.

We went to the water puppet show, which is a big deal in Vietnam, and I have been wanting to check it out. I opted to buy the headphones fir an additional cost so the story could be translated to English for me. The room was cold.

I was asleep within five minutes. The Bahn Mi had hit me hard. I woke up to clapping and Bryony asked what I thought of the show. I said it was an expensive nap, and we laughed and we laughed and we laughed….

Here are some photos from when I was awake. The first one is actually the puppet masters at the end of the show taking a bow. The second photo is the first main scene.


I found flip flops for my average human feet in American standards, that are perceived as clown feet in Vietnam and was excited to retire the sweet tevas for a while. It starts to rain.

We get back to the hostel and see the flurry brown and white dog again and have a little more time to say Hello. He is chained to a pole down in the garage. We start talking to him. I ask him if he is hot with all that fur and if he has enough water. He talks back with a sweet howl and I fall in Love with the way he wags his tail and smiles.

We are on the stairs and we see a man walk over to the dog and kick him in the face. I gasp and cover my face and the man looks up at me. I totally caught him. I go into the hostel and we talked to the reception about the dog and who the hell that guy was. The dog belongs to the hostel and stays chained up in the garage all day and all night. It is SO SAD. Bryony brought him some water, but the poor dog is a prisoner being tortured. Officially the worst hostel.

I had a conference call with my new friend Kimberly about the retreat in Sri Lanka. I am excited to be working with her and the Let’s Imagine Foundation. She seems genuine and transparent in her intentions.

My girl Maddie was in Hanoi and we met up for dinner. She met my group at the beginning of the tour when she helped me find the Bankokian in Bangkok right after the yoga retreat, so she had no problem being reintroduced to the group. I ask her advice on the yoga retreat and we talk about logistics. I start drafting up a contract. I regret not having one for my retreat in Thailand, and the time leading up to it.

A few of us went out for dinner at a rooftop restaurant. I got veggie spring rolls and vegetable fried rice. The portions were unreasonable small, enough for a child, and I joked at the end of the meal, where everyone wanted to go get dinner. I am pretty sure my rice was a microwaved packet of Uncle Bens.

A few of the people got their faces painted because the restaurant offered free face painting. They got blood dripping from their mouths and gashes on their foreheads and I couldn’t take them seriously for the rest of the night.

The views are ok, but they weren’t even really ours.

It starts to get cold and ghoulish and I just have a bad feeling about this Hanoi-ing city, so I call it a night.

If you go to Hanoi, don’t stay at the Signature inn.


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