We began at 7:30AM this morning by boarding our buses and driving to Ha Long Bay where we will spend tonight and tomorrow morning on a cruise ship. We stopped about halfway to our destination for a pit stop at a market close to the highway. Here, we were able to buy some snacks and a few members of the choir took this opportunity to purchase souvenirs as well. We then drove two more hours until we arrived in the beautiful Ha Long Bay.
We took a small boat over to the cruise ship, the Huong Hai Sealife. Everyone was completely blown away when we boarded the ship; it is more like a hotel than a boat! The dining room where we first met to go over some safety features was absolutely beautiful. After taking our belongings to our respective rooms, we then came together for a delicious lunch.
This is our last day in Hanoi, and it was definitely one to remember! This morning we began sightseeing at 7:30AM. Our first destination was the Temple of Literature. This is a temple dedicated to Confucius and there we learned about several aspects of Confucianism. It was a quick visit since our activities yesterday were rescheduled for this morning, so immediately after walking through the temple we went over to train tracks that run straight through the middle of Hanoi. There was a small shopping strip nearby which we visited shortly after the train passed by. It was an interesting experience seeing a little closer how the people in Hanoi live their lives.
We began with a slow start today. The crazy tour schedule has left a few members of the choir with mild illnesses, so Dr. Crane and our tour manager Rex Barrington were able to rearrange our schedule to give us a long morning to relax and sleep in. We all felt very rejuvenated when we gathered together this morning; it was definitely a necessary break for us all!
Once we met together, we walked about five minutes away from our hotel to eat lunch at a local restaurant. By now, the choir has been separated into two rooms when we eat—those who want seafood and those who do not. Shrimp that looks back at us and crunchy jellyfish has been a little too much for some to handle. Today’s meal was pretty standard compared to what we’ve had so far in Hanoi; soup, chicken, fish, shrimp, and vegetables.
We had another beautiful Sunday today and had a lot of opportunities to make lasting friendships. Fortunately, we had some time this morning to relax and catch up on some missed sleep from the previous days of our tour. We had lunch prepared for us by a local restaurant before heading to a small LDS branch here in Hanoi. The branch runs out of a building space that is several stories high. The room in which everyone met was quite small compared to a typical chapel, but the members were so gracious and welcoming as we entered the building.
We began the day with a continental breakfast provided by the hotel here in Hanoi, after which we were off for a little bit of sightseeing to begin our day. First, we visited the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology where we were joined by our beloved university president and his wife, President and Sister Worthen, along with the international Vice President of BYU, Sandra Rogers. They will be with BYU Singers for two days of performances and sightseeing in Hanoi.