Travel

Nightmare In Halong Bay, Vietnam (Cro and Eng Version)

Jedna od najpopularnijih destinacija u Vietnamu svakako je Halong Bay. Svi su rekli “Morate posjetiti Halong Bay”, Instagram je bio prepun savršenih fotki zbog kojih smo jedva čekali da odemo tamo. Halong Bay, uvala poznata po visokim stijenama koje vire iz mora, epski zalasci sunca, vožnja brodom oko stijena dok ležiš na palubi, oko tebe more, priroda, a noću pogled na zvjezdano nebo.

Halong Bay bio je najgore iskustvo koje smo doživjeli u Vietnamu.
No, hajdemo ispočetka.

Nakon što su nas ostali backpackeri, Instagram fotke i internet uvjerili da moramo posjetiti Halong Bay, bacili smo se na planiranje. Glavni i najveći dio planiranja odnosio se na odabir kruzera. Cjenovni razlozi te recenzije na internetu otežavali su pronalazak idealnog kruzera, za nas. Najjeftiniji kruzer koštao je $60 po osobi, no taj je imalo loše recenzije, navodno su ljudi imali žohare na brodu. Na kraju smo se odlučili na varijantu $105 po osobi. Bilo je skupo ali zbog toga smo očekivali i bolju kvalitetu.

Po dolasku, dočekao nas je manji brodić koji nas je odvezao do našeg kruzera. Na prvi pogled, kruzer je izgledao malo starije ali djelovao je uredno. Sobice su bile male, ali imale su sve potrebno, krevet, kupaona i mali ormarići za stvari. Nakon što smo se smjestili dočekao nas je ručak i upoznavanje s našim vodičem. Vodič, kojeg pola toga što je rekao nismo razumijeli. Kao prvo, u Vijetnamu se teško sporazumijeti s ljudima jer rijetki znaju engleski jezik, a kao drugo, oni koji i relativno znaju engleski zvuči čudno. Morate se dobro napregnut da bi skužili par riječi, pa da skužite iz konteksta.

Nakon ručka, vozili smo se kajacima oko visokih stijena, kraj nas su plivale ogromne meduze te smo otkrili jednu skrivenu netaknutu uvalicu, daleko od svega. More je bilo valovito te nas je nosilo prema uvali. Bila je okružena visokim stijenama iz kojih su rasla drveća i raslinje. Iako prekrasna zbog svoje netaknutosti i skrivenosti, lagano sam osjećala nelagodu biti tamo. Osjećala sam se da to nije moj teritorij, neki strah od nepoznatog. Iako zadivljujuća, ponekad osjećate tu zastrašujuću moć prirode.

Nakon kajakarenja, posjetili smo farmu školjaka. Vidjeli smo kako i gdje uzgajaju školjke te kako ih ručno čiste. Jako je zabavno bilo vidjeti vađenja bisera iz školjki. Drugačije doživite kad pred vama žena otvori školjku i rastvori meso ispod kojeg se nalazi bijeli biser. Wow!
Na farmi su imali i svoju prodavaonicu bisernog nakita. Predivno! A cijene su smiješno jeftine, pa tako npr. za 300-tinjak kuna možete kupiti prekrasnu bisernu ogrlicu. Sad znate gdje kupovati bisere.

Nakon cijelog dana vratili smo se na brod te imali vrijeme za sebe. Nakon večere, uzeli smo pivice i otišli na palubu na ležaljke. Bili smo okruženi morem i visokim stijenama koje su u mraku izgledale kao neka bića koja meditiraju. Moćno, nestvarno, savršeno.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

U jednom trenutku, dok smo Zvonimir i ja ležali tako opušteno, Zvonimir mi je rekao kako je vidio ogromnog žohara na palubi. Odskočila sam s ležaljke. Znala sam odmah da taj žohar nije bio jedini, a ubrzo nakon toga sam i ja ugledala jednog ogromnog.
Kada pričamo o Vijetnamskim žoharima, morate znati da su oni veliki i do nekih 8 cm i imaju ogromne rogove.

Više nisam primjećivala ni visoke stijene, ni more, ni zvijezde. Cijelo vrijeme sam razmišljala o tome kako je brod sigurno pun žohara. Osjećala sam se kao da hodaju po meni. Zvonimir je bio poprilično miran u ovim situacijama, još uvijek nisam sigurna je li pokušavao biti miran zbog mene ili se jednostavno nije toliko živcirao oko žohara.
S obzirom na to da je bila noć, a žohari izlaze noću, bila sam nestrpljiva i morala sam otići u sobu da provjerim kakvo je stanje. Na prvu sve se činilo u redu, izgledalo je da nema žohara. Uzela sam svoj ruksak jer mi je trebalo nešto iz njega, i, naravno, ugledala ogromnog žohara u ruksaku. Počela sam paničariti a Zvonimir je uzeo ruksak te izašao izvan sobe kako bi se riješio žohara. Umjesto da ga ubije, on ga je pustio na slobodu, ali dobro. 🙂
Situacija je bila ozbiljna ljudi. Oko nas su fa*in žohari, a nemamo se kome obratiti jer je naš vodič odavno spavao.
Nakon pola sata malo sam se smirila. Zvonimir je već bio zaspao i nije mi bilo jasno kako može tako mirno spavati u ovoj situaciji. Na meni je bilo da jednostavno i ja idem spavati i zaboravim na cijelu situaciju.

Nakon svega par minuta što sam ležala dogodila se moja najveća noćna mora. Moja najveća fobija ikad. Je li ovo moguće?! Čula sam miševe ispod kreveta. Ne jednog miša nego više njih. Oni koji me poznaju znaju da se miševa bojim više od ičega.
Počela sam vrištati i tresla sam se kao šiba. Zvonimir je bio pola u snu pola u šoku. Davao je sve od sebe da me smiri a ja se nisam mogla pomaknuti s mjesta od straha. U tim trenutcima ne znaš je li to stvarnost ili možda ipak sanjaš.
Jedno sam znala – u ovoj sobi nećemo spavati. Nakon paničarenja, razglabanja što ćemo napraviti odlučili smo zbog mene ići van spavati. Izašli smo kroz prozor jer je tako lakše bilo iznijeti madrac. Nosili smo taj ogromni teški madrac po uskim prolazima na brodu i smjestili se na ulazu u restoran broda. Shvatili smo ubrzo da ni tamo ne možemo spavati jer su žohari hodali oko nas. Osjećala sam se očajno. Mislim da je Zvonimiru bilo teže zbog mene a ne zbog žohara i miševa. Najgore je to što se nalaziš na brodu na sred mora i nemaš kud. Osuđen si na taj brod a noć je izgledala kao da nikad neće završiti.

Na brodu su bili i naši frendovi, Aoife i Leon, s kojima smo zajedno putovali dio putovanja. S obzirom na to da su imali jedan dodatni krevet u svojoj sobi, otišli smo kod njih spavati. Oni nisu imali nikakvih problema niti su išta vidjeli u sobi.

Nakon nekih sat vremena spavanja, odjednom smo svi skočili s kreveta i počeli vrištati. Zvonimir, opet u polu snu i polu šoku, počeo je refleksno otvarati prozor. Nije znao što se događa, ali otvaranje prozora mu je tad bila logična stvar. (Sad dok ovo pišem, valjam se od smijeha). Naime, ovog puta svi smo čuli miševe u sobi Aoife i Leona, osim Zvonimira, on je čuo vrištanje i pokušao nas izbaviti kroz prozor, jer to je bilo jedino logično tada da se spasimo. 🙂
Konačno, preselili smo se na ležaljke na palubu i tamo odlučili “spavati”. Znali smo da su oko nas žohari ali nismo imali drugu opciju.
Bila je to divlja noć. Noćna mora.

Sljedeće jutro bilo je namijenjeno za lagano planinarenje te kupanje u moru. Planinarenje je bilo super a pogled s vrha još bolji. Jedva smo čekali osvježiti se u moru. No, na kraju smo se razočarali. U moru je bilo ograničenje od svega tri metra duljine za kupanje i voda je bila prljava i masna. Oko nas je bila hrpa brodova te se mogla vidjeti crna mrlja koju brod ostavlja kada plovi morem.

Bio je to naš zadnji dan u Halong Bayu. Bili smo nabrijani pri dolasku na kopno pričati s menadžerom za cijelu situaciju na brodu te smo htjeli da nam se vrati bar dio novaca. Menadžer nam je dao vrlo kratko i jasno objašnjenje. Rekao je: “Oprostite, ali vi se nalazite u Vietnamu. Mi ovdje živimo sa žoharima, miševima i štakorima i nama je to normalno. Ne možemo vam vratiti novce”.

Ali, Halong Bay bio je samo početak i priprema za ostatak putovanja po Vietnamu.

Bilo je ovo ludo iskustvo. Iako mi je malo žao novaca koje smo potrošili na Halong Bay, na kraju, sve je to dio putovanja. Putovanja nisu uvijek fancy i zabavna, nekada su jako naporna. Susrećete se s drugačijim oblicima življenja i drugačijim kulturama. Ponekad ono što je vama van svake pameti, nekome je svakodnevni način življenja. I u tome je sva ljepota putovanja. Upoznavanje drugačijeg i prilagođavanje drugačijem. I, saznanje da se svi nalazimo na istom mjestu – našoj planeti Zemljici. Možda živimo drugačijim načinom, ali smo povezani više nego što mislimo da jesmo.

Halong Bay, Vietnam
                                                                                                                    Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

                                                                                                       A little-marked part of the sea for swimming

One of the most popular destinations in Vietnam is definitely Halong Bay. Everybody said “You need to visit Halong Bay”, Instagram was full of perfect shots for which we could not wait to go there. Halong Bay, the bay known for its high rocks rising from the sea, epic sunsets, boat rides around the rocks while lying on the deck, around you is the sea, nature, and at the night sky full of stars.

Halong Bay was the worst experience we had in Vietnam.
But, let’s start from the beginning.

After other backpackers, Instagram photos and the internet convinced us that we need to visit Halong Bay, we started planning. The most difficult part of the planning was to select a cruiser boat. High prices and bad reviews on the Internet impeded find the ideal cruise for us. The cheapest cruise cost $ 60 per person, but that one had bad reviews. Apparently, people had cockroaches on the ship. In the end, we decided to take the one for $ 105 per person. The boat was a little bit expensive, but we were sure we will get better quality.

Upon arriving at the bay, a small boat took us to our cruise boat. At first, cruise boat looked a little older but was clean. Rooms were small but had everything needed, bed, bathroom and small lockers for our stuff. Once we had settled in, we had lunch and met with our guide. Guide, who was really hard to understand when he’s speaking. First of all, in Vietnam, it’s difficult to communicate with people because they don’t know the English language and those who know English sometimes sound strange.

After lunch, we were driving on kayaks around the high rocks, enormous jellyfish were swimming beside our kayak, and we discovered a hidden bay, away from everything. The sea was wavy and brought us to the bay. The bay was surrounded by high rocks from which they grow trees and plants. Although beautiful, I felt slightly uncomfortable to be there. I felt like it wasn’t my territory, a fear of the unknown. Although admirable, sometimes, you can feel the terrifying power of nature. After kayaking, we visited the farm shells. We have seen how and where they grow shells and how to manually clean. It was so amazing to see a process of separating pearls from the shells. A different experience when in front of you women opened the shell and remove shell meat where is a white pearl below. Wow! On the farm, they had their shop with pearl jewelry. It was amazing. And the prices are ridiculously cheap. So, for $50 you can buy a beautiful pearl necklace. Now you know where to buy pearls.

After a long day, we returned to the boat and had some free time.

After dinner, we took the beers and went to chill on the deck. We were surrounded by sea and high rocks which in the dark they looked like some beings who meditate. Powerful, surreal, perfect. At one point, while Zvonimir and I were chilling, Zvonimir told me that he saw a huge cockroach on the deck. I immediately jumped out of the deck chairs. I knew that that one cockroach wasn’t the only one, and soon after I also saw the big one. When we talk about the Vietnamese cockroaches, you must know that they are so big and go up to about 8 cm and have huge horns.
I no longer noticed high rocks, sea or stars. The whole time I was thinking about how the boat was full of cockroaches. Zvonimir was quite calm in this situation, I’m still not sure if he was trying to be calm because of me or simply he wasn’t so irritating about cockroaches. Due to the fact that it was night, the cockroaches come out at night. I was impatient, and I had to go to our room to check if there were cockroaches.

At first, everything seemed fine. We didn’t see any cockroach in the room. I took my backpack because I needed something from it, and, of course, saw a huge cockroach in my backpack. I started to panic. Zvonimir took the backpack and left the room to get rid of the cockroach. Instead of killing him, he was released him to freedom. Oh well. 🙂 The situation was serious. Around us were fu*kin’ cockroaches, and we have no one to turn to because our guide was already asleep. After half an hour I calmed down a little. Zvonimir was already asleep, and I didn’t understand how he can be so peaceful in this situation. I didn’t have a choice, so I went to sleep and was trying to forget about the whole situation.

After only a few minutes, happened my biggest nightmare. My biggest phobia ever. Is this possible?! I heard mice under the bed. Not a mouse but mice. Those who know me, know that I’m afraid of the mouse more than anything. I started screaming, and I was shaking. Zvonimir was half asleep half in shock. He gave his best to calm me down, and I couldn’t move because of fear. In those moments you don’t know if this is real or maybe a dream. One thing I knew – in this room we will not sleep. After panicking, we decided to go sleep outside of the room. We went out through the window as it was easier to take the mattress off. We carried this huge heavy mattress by narrow passages on the boat and placed at the entrance to the restaurant boat. We quickly realized that we can’t sleep there because cockroaches were walking around us.

I felt desperate. I think Zvonimir was feeling bad more for me then for the whole situation. The worst thing was we were on a boat in the middle of nowhere. It looked like night is never going to end.

Our friends, Aoife and Leon, were also on the boat. We actually traveled together part of the trip. They had an extra bed in their room, so we went to sleep there. They didn’t have any problems nor did they see anything in the room.

After about an hour of sleep, we all jumped off the bed and started screaming. Zvonimir, again, half asleep and half shock began to reflexively open a window. He didn’t know what was happening, but opening the window was the logical thing at that point, so we can all escape from the room. (Now as I’m writing this, I laughing hysterically). So, again, we all heard mice in the room, except Zvonimir, he heard screaming and tried to get us out of the window. 🙂 Finally, we moved to the deck chairs on the deck and then decided to “sleep”. We knew cockroaches were around us, but we didn’t have another option. It was a nightmare.

The next morning we went hiking and swimming in the sea. Hiking was short but great and the view from the top even better. We couldn’t wait to freshen up in the sea. But in the end, we were disappointed. The sea was limited with a rope of only three meters in length for swimming, and water was dirty and greasy. Around us was a bunch of boats and we could see a black mark that boat leaves.

It was our last day in Halong Bay. We were decided to talk to the manager because of the whole situation we had last night. We wanted to get back, at least, some money. The manager gave us a very brief and clear explanation. He said: “Sorry, but you are in Vietnam. We live here with cockroaches, mice, and rats, and to us this is normal. We can not give you back the money.”

But, Halong Bay was just the beginning and preparation for the rest of our trip in Vietnam.

This was a crazy experience. Although I was a little sorry for the money that we spend on Halong Bay, in the end, it’s all part of the journey. Travel is not always a fancy and fun, sometimes is very difficult. You meet up with other forms of life and different cultures. Sometimes, when something doesn’t make sense for you, that is someone’s everyday lifestyle. And that’s the beauty of travel. Exploring different and adjust to different. And, knowing that we are all in the same place – on our planet Earth. Perhaps we live in a different way, but we are connected more than we think we are.

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