Not totally sure where to start with this one.. probably because we’ve fallen off our peaceful Pai detox and drove right back onto the drunk train. To my parents: the responsible drunk train.
We stayed at the Vietnam Backpackers Hostel downtown Hanoi and I’m not sure who was less prepared- them for us or us for them. Probably a bit of both. Hey have themed nights every night and it is absolute madness every time. I should also mention that they encourage dancing on the tables and group singing and chants, which are hands down two of my favourite things. Over the course of the four days, a couple more tattoos may have occurred within our crew. You’ll just have to wait to find out. We were reunited with Haley our first night and you would have thought we’d been apart for months with how excited we were! There also may have been some happy tears.
On one of these wild nights we met some Australian dude, with average beer pong skills and great hair named Dave. I think we’d all agree that he was a huge contribution to why we loved Hanoi. I’m not completely sure how it started, but I think he sat with us at breakfast and told us what sights we should see and then we eventually asked if he would just take us. With that, the great “Tour Guide Dave” was born. A beautiful friendship grew between all of us and I have never chanted anything so much in my life like we did with “Tour Guide Dave” or “TGD” for short. Other people even picked it up and asked if he was actually a tour guide. He was the fifth member of our squad and we didn’t want him to leave so Haley somehow convinced him to come with us on our Castaways tour that was leaving the next day. Thank god she did cause now our family had another four days together!
That brings us to Castaways. A somewhat notorious boozey 3 days on a private island in Halong Bay. It is again, not the most budget friendly activity and somewhat cliche, but damn was it the best time ever. How can being on a sunny, private island with 4 of your best friends not be the best time!? What also made it over the top was the fact that day one was Haley’s 23rd birthday and the last day was Madison’s 24th. So as you can imagine, we took full advantage of the time there. Night one is a party of the island with the group that “cruised” that day and then the following day is your cruise day and that night you party with the, as we so eloquently put, “fresh meat”. The cruise day is hands down the highlight. You set off around 10am, after breakfast and after the safety chat and greeted with a group shotgun. Amazing. We cruised through the islands for about an hour before getting to our first stop where we kayaked through a cave to a huge lagoon. Again, one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. And in true Jo fashion, don’t have any photos because I am not to be trusted with a phone when there’s alcohol and water involved. I shouldn’t even have a wallet because at the next stop where we could jump off the boat and generally just had a boat party; said Haley and I jumped and then we looked to our left and my wallet was floating their by some miracle. I have some serious lucky charms in me because I also found my wallet in Phi Phi when it sank in the ocean. Lucky charms or good karma working its way back, either way, I’m happy about it! The boat was absolutely wild filled with tunes and beautiful people. They even played Nickleback’s “Burn it to the Ground” (possibly by request) and what happened next is history. I could never write everything that happened, but I am so happy that I experienced it with my favs. It could be summed up by saying that they offered all of us jobs on the island. I guess we’re that fun.
After Castaways we got back to Hanoi, and the following day we had to say goodbye to Tour Guide Dave who was heading back home for school. Tears may have been shed, but we were comforted in the fact that we’ll see him in a few months in Adelaide. Then he will eventually come to Vancouver, and then one day Austranada will happen. Now we are heading off for detox part 2 in Mai Chau!