We arrived in Hanoi only a couple of days after Russia. We knew he was at a backpackers hostel but we literally had no clue which way to go upon entering the city. So we just kinda followed our instincts/highest congestion of traffic until we decided we’d better pull over and get some wifi. Well we happened to get ourselves within only a few blocks of his place, so he came by and we followed him back home. Super fortunate.
Selling Our Bikes
So my bike has been the one with all the problems along the way but now that I’ve had the entire engine stripped down and rebuilt, it’s running beautifully. Max’s however, was not in very good shape after that major highway spill he took a few days ago, so he spent a lot of his time going around and fixing it up at different shops. It was a bit of a headache but we were at our final destination in Vietnam now, so it’s time to start selling our bikes. Ryker ran into a random buddy who was just starting his trip in the opposite direction so he pawned off his bike to him. Russia found a guy online to buy his bike, and Max and I sold ours to a dude who buys & sells bikes. Trust me when I say this: it was nice to finally be rid of those damn bikes.
So the backpacker hostels heavily advertise this booze cruise that happens weekly called the Jolly Roger (well the boat is the Jolly Roger). It looked pretty fun and we had a few days to kill before leaving the country so we checked it out. The boat itself was pretty big. There were about 25 of us on it and the theme was definitely alcohol. For the day time there was lots of music and dancing and socializing, basically getting to know everyone on board. Then we went kayaking around the islands and caves in Ha Long Bay. The caves were cool but the water was incredible. During one of our stops, Max decided to go for a swim. It looked like a great idea so I joined him. I ran along the dock and did a huge dive into the water. As soon and I dove in, I went through a little patch of seaweed or something. I scraped it away from my head and rose to the surface. Then I started getting the strangest sensation…
Parker: “Hey man, is your skin burning?”
Max: “…umm no.”
Parker: “I’m getting out of the water!”
That strange sensation I felt earlier had quickly turned into intense stinging and burning. When I climbed back on the dock the guys were laughing hysterically and then started pulling stands of jellyfish off my face, hair and shoulders. Apparently I absolutely destroyed a jellyfish by diving in head first through the damn thing. The next several hours were pretty excruciating. Red lines started to form on my skin where the jellyfish touched me and there was basically nothing we could do about the pain. The captain and his crew had some sort of technique to remedy my pains: rub salt and lime all over me. If you think that sounds ridiculous, you’re totally right. I don’t think it actually did ANYTHING. I was fortunate enough, however, to have about 20 people gladly offer to pee on me. What are friends for? It probably would have made a better story if I let them, but I’m a tough guy so I sucked it up and… err, maybe I should choose my words more carefully. I toughed it out and let the burning slowly reside. It took about 48 hours for the burning to fully stop, and it left me with some pretty gnarly burn scars. So I did what everyone else did that night… I drank
The next few days we just hung out and bar hopped a bit. One of the nights out, we got pretty drunk. We ended up at the street vendor, eating Viet subs. I bought a couple eggs from the vendor and smashed them both over Rykers head. It was awesome. Then we scattered. Max and I wandered for a while, looking for our hostel. We got pretty close too, but the neighbourhood was totally different at 2am and we weren’t really sure where it was. Then these two women on a scooter started following us. They were trying to “talk” but one of them kept grabbing at our junk. It was f#&zking weird. We told them to F#&$ off a couple hundred times but they were incredibly aggressive. We were also drunk enough that it was like a game trying to run away from these creeps. Eventually some dude pulls up on a scooter so I run over to him to ask where Lucky Star Hotel was. Max realized sooner than I did and yelled at me, “Parker, he’s with them!” God damnit. So we kept running. We finally found the Hotel, even with that crazy lady groping at us, but the big metal gate was closed. So we banged on it and waited. The security guy finally opened it and they ladies zoomed off on their scooters. We were safe at last.
The next morning I realized the harsh reality of what happened. The f#&$ing piece of $#!! c%#$ b!@# had pick-pocketed me right at the last second. My wallet was gone. My money was gone. My credit cards and ID were gone. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I collapsed on the floor, so incredibly depressed. And absolutely furious that she was able to pull it off before we got inside. We only had about three days left in this country. Frankly, by this time, we were all happy to finally leave Vietnam.
Bus Ride Out of Hanoi
Our bus picked us up outside our hotel at 5pm. It was a 28 hour ride! God bless valium. We had one stop at night and we loaded up on snacks. Crossing the border was pretty lame too. There were too few people working so our ‘single file’ took forever. And they charged us $40 to cross. But it was all worth it because our next stop was Vang Vieng, Laos!!!