Mountains and Man Points

Ninh Binh Bouldering

Took our time today, the hostel is WAY out of town in the mountains. We had a lazy start, sleeping in late and slow breakfast. It’s so relaxed and tranquil here, surrounded by paddy fields and lilly marshes and BLOOD SUCKING MOSQUITOES!!!! Literally the buggers are the size of hummingbirds with the bills to match! There are mosquito nets over the beds but it takes sniper eyesight to catch all of them before you go to sleep.

Last night I didn’t get a chance to update the blog because just as I was choosing a photo I dropped my phone… And the screen smashed. So I’ve added a bit to yesterday’s post about eating gruesome things. I’ve been so careful with it but I guess it was going to happen eventually with a phablet. We went into town and found a guy who knew a guy who could fix it for £25, bargain!

The phone would be ready at 1600 so we found a Banh My shop and had, what have become, our favorite lunches. Baguettes with all sorts of veg and meat and various juices poured into it. They are all similar and all amazing. However, as a recurring theme, vietnamese are small and so me and Mike demolished 2 each.

We wandered around the town for a bit looking at markets and in the end gave up and headed for the mountains. These mountains are really strange because the ground all around them is dead flat and flooded. The locals have used them all for farming, wedged in between the shear rock faces. Whoever is in charge of town planning here should be shot though. They have dumped a line of hard core down the centre of what was clearly once a massive lake to make a road. It has truly destroyed the natural beauty of that area. This area is effectively the lake district to the vietnamese and someone decided to build a dyke down the centre of coniston water…

The rocks were giving me some serious climbing envy that I could no longer resist. The pockets of bubbly limestone were calling to me. After about a year or so being away from climbing, I slipped my socks off and gave an easy slab on a boulder a route. It was a great feeling topping off the boulder, although it highlighted how out of season I am. Def gunna get back into it when I get home. We also started up a steep rocky gully to see how high up we could get. It was going well but from experience, this is how epics begin. Pretty soon the moves would be easy going up but irreversible coming down. Logic and sense, for once, prevailed and we made it off unharmed and with all limbs attached.

Time to pick up the phone and he had done a great job. Only now that I am writing this with a white screen I can see a smell blemish but at literally half the price of what it would have cost in the UK, it’s fine. We decided to stay in town for dinner because the hostel was kinda expensive compared to the other places we had been. £4 for a whole meal is still pretty good, but you can get it for £3 or less if you aren’t fussy, like the vegetablists…

On the way home I said to Mike I was just popping off on my own. He knew exactly what I was doing. We both raced off in different directions and made our own way back to the hostel. Camilla just left us to it. We bumped into each other on the dirt road leading back. We had been joking about it for a while now but never actually gotten around to buying each other silly gifts. The exchange was completed and I am ecstatic with my cardboard, multicoloured horse. Mike seemed pretty happy with the biggest flower arrangement I could get on the bike. Biking into Hanoi tomorrow is going to be fun!

Last thing to occur today was a gigantic moth, the size of bird flapped into my face and made me shit myself (metaphorically) and dive off the chair for cover (not metaphorically) I lost many man points but I just don’t do flying buzzy things… Urgh!