Lunching on a boat in Halong Bay – with Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’

Well there we were. Cruising through beautiful Halong Bay, calm waters, low cloud hanging over the many islands giving them a very mysterious look and then it was time for lunch.

We had all been asked about what we wanted to have the previous day, as on a boat they have to buy the supplies. There were 4 vegetarians (including myself), Mr and Mrs ‘Irish couple’ wanted meat as they don’t eat fish and the rest were to have seafood.

So we are all sitting at the appropriate tables for who’s having what.

Now Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’, was to be a seafood eater and was seated at that table with the other fish eating people.

Out came the prawns, vegetable dishes for us and meat and chicken for the Irish couple, seated at their own table. Now Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’, spotted the meat and chicken and announced that he wanted meat too, not seafood (not possible our tour guide tells him as only enough was ordered for 2 people).

After much complaining and not caring about the fact that he had not ordered meat, the Irish couple very generously told him they would share theirs. So he gets stuck into the meat and chicken. Then out comes mussels, delicious fish dishes etc. So he then decides he will eat fish after all. (obviously not full after the meat and chicken)

Now shelling prawns, eating mussels in sauce and fish dishes can be a messy affair for many people, especially a 2 year old, which Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’, definitely is not, but he would give any 2 year a ‘run for their money’ on messy eating.

I will give this my best shot to paint a picture of what it is like to eat a meal with Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’.

First off, he likes to eat with his hands, both hands, rather than use cutlery. Seafood. Squeezing and squishing the prawn in an attempt to peel it with the sloppy, oozy juice running down his fingers, dripping on the table and his shirt. Mussels in sauce dripping down to his elbows and running from the corners of his mouth, smeared on his cheeks etc. Oh dear. Then half way through the meal, he removes his dentures and licks the inside to clean them, and then gives them a shake to the side of the table to get rid of any remaining food bits, before stuffing them back in, with up “err, hmm, hmm, hmm” and continuing.

Now he naturally likes to have a chat while he’s talking and he is near on impossible to understand when he’s not eating, but with a mouthful of food, no one can understand and with the effort he becomes very spitty, spraying chewed up bits of food over the table and on any poor person nearby.

Vietnam has lovely crusty bread rolls, which Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’, was always eating, even on the bus. Roll in one hand, pulling off bits with the other, crumbs flying everywhere and stuffing in mouth. The mess on himself, the chair, the floor was unbelievable. But he remained oblivious (or pretended to, I’m not sure)

Seriously, this is not an exaggeration. The joys of group tours (although I’ve never encounted anyone quite like him before). I’ve included some beautiful photo’s of Halong Bay and around, but spared you from any of our lunch, for obvious reasons.

1-A low lying mist over the 1600 islands which form a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars.

2-It is not uncommon for a family to live on a boat 3-Kissing Rocks 4-Local fisherment keep their catches alive until they are bought 5-Caves on Bo Hon Island 6-Colourful lights highlight the diverse shapes in the caves on Bo Hon Island 7a-Where else does a child play when a family lives on a boat 7-Beautiful islands in Halong Bay 8-Fields of vegetables are dotted with conical hats as the locals tend the plants 9-The people work hard and many hours growing vegetables to sell at the markets 10-Washing the lettuces 11-Pigs running down the main highways. This one ducks under the truck trying to avoid capture and being taken to the markets 12-Sneaky police hiding up in the tree tops with their speed cameras

13-Along the road, there are many large shops where the disabled make beautiful marble statues

NB: All opinions and photo’s are my own.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent and the not so innocent.

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