Visit Cat Ba, Ha Long with foreigners (continued)
The boat left Ha Long Bay for Lan Ha bay to Cat Ba Island. After several hours of making friends and visiting scenery together, passengers were likely to be more friendly and closely. The Italian friend boasted of using up two film reels.

And he took out an album of picture which comprised many beautiful pictures he had taken at many places such as Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines, etc. He also boasted of owning a restaurant in Milan, which was very big, beautiful, and full of Ferrari cars parking in front (a car brand name of Italy). I saw him making a bargain with a saleswoman for necklaces, bracelets, earrings made of natural pearls. He asked me to comment if it was cheap or expensive.

I did not know at all, but I still held it and compared its price to that of Tan Son Nhat and Noi Bai‘s shops…, nodded, and said “that’s Ok”. The saleswoman smiled and gave goods to the Italian man. It turned out that the Italian man was very rich, and experienced, but he still liked to travel by this way because this tour was cheap, convenient and comfortable.

At other table, there had 4 Korean girls who was enjoying scenery, along playing one-two-three which was quite similar to Vietnamese one-two-three, but more complicated: face hands, spread hands, knit hands, and simultaneously read something like folk-songs; someone who lost, would bend over for a little pat on the back. All 4 girls aged over 30 years old, were pretty. After being tired, they asked for water.

One girl drank Lipton tea, and 3 other girls drank tea which was prepared by themselves. They quickly drank up the tea and said something to the waiter. The waiter did not know English, so he couldn’t understand what they wanted while the tour guide was being at the top of the ship with passengers.

The girl wearing glasses torn paper, wrote something, gave it to the waiter and asked me for help.

She wrote “hot water”. I smiled and said to the waiter: They wanted hot water, would you bring it to them? The waiter smiled too: Alright. I thought that woman was so economic. Thermos of hot water was brought, they were happy drinking tea. Another Germany girl on the table behind also asked for more sugar.

The waiter asked me to tell her that: sugar was out of stock…I made a smile: Vietnamese was so bright, they should learn it…The Canadian man was eager to learn immediately. He pronounced “Nuôc nong” (English: Hot water). I corrected: Nước nóng. He pronounced again. Everybody felt funny. (The Canadian man really loved to learn Vietnamese. When he saw any words of Vietnamese, he read loudly and asked me the meaning).

For example, when the tour stopped at Hai Duong province for rest, tourists went to the WC, but they made mistakes when entering the female WC. The Canadian man raised his eyes to see the female signal and read according to French pronunciation “Nu” (English: Woman). He surprised and said to me: Terrible, because in French, this word’s pronunciation means nude. He and I laughed out loud.

About some Korean girls, I offered them to take photographs with me. They were very happy and competed for finding good seats. After finishing, the girl wearing glasses said: She had not had pictures. I turned to her. At this time, her friends did not compete with her. The girl wearing glasses smiled sweetly…The air was so fresh. They introduced themselves that they were teachers, not rich but really loved Vietnam.

I told them about a story of the prince Yi Yong Sang of Vietnam. He took refuge in Korea, made many achievements. Recently, descendants of him had returned to Vietnam visiting the country home. Those teachers did not know this story. They were very excited and asked me more details about this Vietnamese prince. I said that to my knowledge, Yi is the largest family name in Korea.

The girl wearing glasses shouted: she and another girl had family name of Yi. She was excited to take out a pen and write her name in Chinese and give it to me. It was a pity that my Chinese knowledge was very little; I could only read her family name Yi. But I was also eager to write my name in Chinese beside her name.

These Korean teachers only knew one word “thanh” with the English meaning of green. I said that my family name was similar to that of a famous Vietnamese General who pitched woodpiles in Bach Dang River and hid them in Dau Go grotto…The girls asked me if I were a descendant of that General. I answered that I did not know but every Vietnamese tried their best to deserve being a descendant of him…When Vietnam was invaded, as a poet had written: every child dreamed about iron horse/ every river wanted to become Bach Dang River. After being explained, they surprised and shouted loudly “Oh”…The girl wearing glasses held my arms more strongly.

In the afternoon, the ship came to Cat Ba Island. The scenery was very different from that of 40 years ago. At that time, I went along with the fishing ships, but one ship was broken down, so we had to enter Cat Ba for fix. Previously, the Island was so primitive with the simple wood houses which looked like bird nests.

And now….We went by car on the new road to the center of the island. There were many restaurants, hotels, more beautiful houses of residents and larger working buildings. We chose an 8-storey hotel which was convenient and good services…At that night, I slept with an Australian man. He – aged over 20 years old, travelled with his parents. His parents slept in another room…After eating dinner; I brought along my photo camera to a near park.

The island in the night was so beautiful with the sea arch near the boat wharf. The rock embankment was very long, the lights was set up along the sea arch…There were some hi-rise hotels; On the sea, the lights of fishing ships were bright and beautiful…When I was wondering if my photo camera could show these beauties, two other writers came.

I agreed to take photographs for them. And then it was my turn….I made appointment with them for giving them photographs at 8 o’clock on the following day.

I waited for so long, but they didn’t come. A hotel staff consoled me: Maybe there was something wrong because they were quite familiar with this hotel. The car started running. The French man shook my hand and said that he liked to stay in several days. He could stay for any hours he liked because this is an open tour.
When the car returned Sword Lake, 4 Korean teachers still wanted to take photographs with me and wished to visit Vietnam again. The last happiness of mine was that on the following day, I developed my films and my pictures of Cat Ba were so beautiful, so sparkling and so fanciful….Thanks to all my friends and see you soon.
According to Trần Thanh Giao / Haiphong Security News
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