Thursday, 15 November 2012

LANDING UP ON MONKEY ISLAND



This morning it’s hard to believe its November 15th There a little breeze and must be about 20 degrees and the waves are crashing right up on the beach, its high tide now, 6 am in the morning
Welcome to Monkey Island, a tiny island with two bays on opposite sides, on the East and West. We are West side and have spend the night here as part of our Ha long package.
This is the place to come to finish that book or think those thoughts or make that plan. A collection of about 12 bungalows and stilt houses clustered around the beach accommodates we who pass through.

Wednesday was a frantic timetable ended on our arrival on the small concrete landing stairs here at 2:30 yesterday afternoon.
We had risen at around 5:30 am to a lovely sunrise washed through pale clouds, a breakfast on board and then onto a small boat all twenty or so of us and across to some caves (The Caves of Awe) then across to another island, Titop. In 1962, this tiny island had the honour of receiving a visit from cosmonaut Ghermann Titop, a hero of the former Soviet Union, accompanied by President Ho Chi Minh. Thereafter Uncle Ho named it Ti Top Island


Then Sian and I were segregated onto a smaller boat and found ourselves to be the only two passengers on a day bunk that was to take here. It was 10 am and we were offered a beer (beer and coke it transpired where the only choices of beverage aboard). We motored very gently South East through the bay and islands out to the edge of this wonderland. 
We moored up once and in kayaks with our guide, Mr Chingh, led us through an underground cave in one of the island rock formations and after 10 minutes, once we were through the deep darkness, we entered a lake which must have been in the centre of this micro-island. We paddled around and then found our way back to the mouth of darkness and then eventually along side our vessel.
A lovely lunch ensued, prawns, rice, tofu, chicken and mushrooms, cold fries and hot rice. Pears for deserts and a nice lie down on the upper deck. It was time to move to Monkey Island. A gentle nearly two hour cruise.
Last night we had our beers on the tiny terrace and watched the sun go down. Nirvana was only slightly spoilt by the lighting of a fire to burn rubbish at the far end of the beach and the machining of some boat hull.  Eventually, we decamped to the bar with our neighbouring bungalow inhabitants ready for supper. 
Well, even Paradise can’t be completely perfect I’m sure.