I had barely recovered from a fever that came out of the blue the previous evening. Ree suspected my recurrent malaria (from my past travels), but I wasn't so sure. But i sure felt a lot better after the hotel manager had raced me past a few pharmacies (without finding any anti-malarian drugs) on his Vespa.
With all the happy punters picked up we drove for 3+ hours to be dropped off on the Cruise Junk at Halong Bay.
Again the humble price of the tour could not possibly cover the food, petrol or entry fees of the two days with Galaxy. Gazillions of tourists on the Bay, but no complaints there either, all was fantastic. An hour of kayaking, an hours walk through a cave...
Ree drifted off with the warm current during her late afternoon swim but was heroically dragged back from the ship's front to the safety of the aft ladder by fellow camper Pete. As she clambered on board I mentioned I needed more Panadol for my second fever spike (confirming it was indeed malaria). Ree was not impressed with my lack of compassion but the cocktails on board soon made us forget near drownings and malaria and refocussed our attention to the splendid cruise. The next few cruises were cancelled due to an approaching monsoon (I now remember reading the travel advice to avoid Northern Vietnam this in July/August).
It was all too soon before we were deposited back on the bus and eventually returned, in one piece, back in Hanoi at our perfect Dragon hotel in time for a nap and a bite prior to catching the over-night train to the Chinese border en-route to Sapan. The rain and thunder started as we hopped on board the overnight tourist train.