WAHOOOO we’re still here!!! Christmas this year feels slightly strange to be honest its our first away from home and we miss you all loads, but we are on the beach and have a pig and are surrounded by awesome people so I think we’ll survive!! I taught my last lesson on christmas eve eve and we headed over to Woodstock the next morning! Before we left we gave each other our christmas presents… very exciting indeed. Joe got my some flip-flops and a face massager well done i’m pretty pleased with that. I got Joe a machete because his brother got one when he came to Asia and Joe wanted to be the same. Christmas eve got a little messy and we ended up having quite a few drinks at the bar and but managed to get an earlyish night as we had the children from the school coming the next morning!

Joe woke up very hungover and very stressed about nothing in particular but the children turned up and everyone mucked in playing volleyball and building sandcastles!



So lots of fun was had none of the kids wanted to go home and it was so good to have a bit of a purpose in the morning. Their school trip ended with me and Ollie trying to spear the pig for the hog roast in the middle of where they were playing. I did try and tell Ollie to wait until the children went home but he decided that this is normal in Vietnam and that they wouldn’t be shocked by the dead pig being hauled along the beach and then violated by the spear. This turned out to be a tricky procedure and took a few attempts but the pig managed to get safely secured onto the spit ready for dinner. Joe was busy trying to assist with the electrics and set up some fairy lights for the dance floor. All starting to feel very Christmassy right now. 


It didn’t take long before it felt like christmas was well and truly underway the pig was coming along nicely and the beers were flowing. Harris was well into his christmas present (a bottle of whiskey) and the good vibes were bouncing. It was quite amusing watching all the boys discuss whether the fire was too hot or we should turn the pig a bit faster suddenly everyone was a master chef. I think the pictures tell the rest!





The girls and I set up the tables and poured rice wine for everyone, 60 people all together so this is going to be a party! Joe and I took 10 minutes out to FaceTime some of you lovely people from back home and it made our day thank you all for answering and we hope you had the best day too and didn’t miss us too much. We ate our dinner and it was good! OMG the pig was amazing I want another one right now!  I’d been picking at the food all day so wasn’t actually that hungry by the time the pig came out but all was good. We ate and drank and I was knackered so I took an hours nap in our tent. Joe came to wake me up adamant that I should keep partying so up I got and the show must go on. We drank, we danced, we partied and I put Joe to bed in the early hours of the morning. All in all a good christmas and definitely one we won’t forget in a while! Now all we need is plenty of time to recover before hitting the juice again for New Years Eve and Woodstocks next big party.


Paris X


Should we stay or should we go now…

So now it really is decision time what to do next? I’m still not really loving life here but it is quite chilled and peaceful. Plus the island really is beautiful. Its the hardest decision so far!!

 I have got used to working here but haven’t learnt to love it! I’ve turned into a recruitment consultant organising masses of emails from prospective employees and its alright. Another great opportunity has come up for me though, to teach in the evenings. Khai who owns Woodstock (where we previously stayed) also runs a small english school in town for low income families so that their children and young adults can learn to speak english. As it happens it came to my knowledge that 3 of their english teachers had left unexpectedly leaving the school in a bit of a turmoil so I started to offer some time to help out. Khai asked me last week if I will stay for a bit and the lessons have been going really well so thats a decision made. On top of all of this i’ll be getting paid $15 and hour and free food and accommodation at Woodstock should I wish at any point. Its all getting a bit better, we met some awesome people this week too and have spent lots of time partying with Tom and Emma and having chilled days on the beach with their little girl Izzie. The highlight of my week has been crashing at Woodstock and Izzie waking Joe up bright and early I think you’ll agree he doesn’t look too pleased!


We’ve also decided that we will leave Cat Ba climbing this week, Joes feeling ill and after a week of working two jobs i’m getting pretty fed up! There is the opportunity for Joe to come and teach with me or help out in Woodstock for a small salary! This will help us fund the next few months and also makes going to work a little more worth while when you actually get paid. We’ve made some more crucial decisions about our time in South East Asia this week… (look at us getting all organised) We’ve worked out that now i’m getting a wage we’ll be able to afford to stay in Vietnam longer and still hope to ride Hettie down to the south! The money i’ll be able to save should also fund us for a month in Cambodia so this now takes us up to March, we’ve booked a 2 day luxury spa stay in Phucket for the 1/2 of April (thank you Bill we will well and truly need it by then). heres the link so you can all get jealous:

And we’ve moved our flight to New Zealand to the 1st of May. Ahh it feel good to have a bit of a plan even though it will probably change.

This is turning into a bit of a ramble, but its okay because theres still more to catch you up on… I figured here; Halfway through this post i’d give you a little 3 month review. And yes i’m aware its not quite 3 months yet but i’ll be busy partying at xmas and won’t have time to write much so i’ll do it now instead. So far it has been ace!!! I still can’t quite believe it is real and that we’re really here. We really have had such a laugh and done some amazing things already and its mad to think we’re only at the beginning of our journey. We have spent a lot more money than we budgeted but I don’t spose that surprises anyone reading this, and obviously its been worth every penny.  Cat Ba more than anywhere has had its highs and lows so far but we love this island its just the work situation thats been a bit bizarre/stressful but fingers crossed its all in hand now. We miss you all loads and I think Christmas is going to be very strange this year but i’m sure we’ll make it work somehow! (probably on the beach with a bottle – or two – of whiskey).


We’ve got quite friendly with the Vietnamese staff here especially 2 of the young lads that help out and sometimes go out climbing. We were walking home one night from our favourite bar Oasis and they stared shouting us over! They then proceeded to get us so much food Joe ate a chicken foot and loads of oysters and clams. I just stuck to my beer, but we had a really good night drinking with them despite the fact none of them speak a word of English.


So we had a rare day off together and I had no teaching as it was Sunday. Woooo!!! So we went to check out the Hospital cave and this Frog pond thing that Joe had been researching. We got to the hospital cave and rumour has it that if you drive past and walk int he exit its free… so we decided we’d give it a go only we pretty much got stopped straight away for trying to drive down a pedestrian only path! So we bottled it and decided to just pay the 50pence entrance fee. The hospital cave was interesting. The guide was on his lunch so we just got pointed in the right location which was fine by us. the beginning was all man made concrete chambers that used to be room and they had creepy models propped up all over the place in military uniform.  The top bit was cool though a concrete floor with the actual cave roof, the third floor was out of bounds because its slippy but being the rebels that we are we decided to proceed anyway, no one died so its all good.


We stopped at the bar just outside for a mandatory beer before heading onto this frog place. The only actual reason we stopped was that there were a lot of really cute puppies and I wanted to cuddle them all. Half way through playing with the puppies a little girl came out of a shed with a pet snake so we had a hold of that as well successful stop.


We wanted to get back before it was dark so off we headed to the  Frog place. On the way there were loads of sign saying you had to stop and pay an entrance fee but we ignored them and ploughed on through. About halfway up a track we got chased and nearly bitten by two ferocious dogs and then the road kind of ended and we came to the conclusion that we were probably meant to walk this last bit So back we headed past the now very angry dogs and decided that we’d give the frog cave/lake/pond a miss for today! Maybe next time!!


Hope you all enjoy this little update, love to you all

Paris X

Cat Ba continued

So we made it to the town and escaped Woodstock, we had booked a cheap double room for $5 which was reasonable for the area. Upon arriving and getting our stuff settled in we wondered downstairs to go and (of course) find the best place to have a beer. Joe noticed an advert on the wall for a job as a climbing guide with good admin skills. So we had a chat over our beer and decided that we should maybe go and check it out. We went to find the shop that evening and thats where we met Mr Zoom!! It all seemed too good to be true. We said we’d have the night to think about it but go back first thing in the morning with our decision. So we headed out for more beer and who should we bump into but all the staff from Woodstock. Needless to say instead of having a quiet night we got fairly drunk with them and got more excited about the prospect of working on Cat Ba. You don’t get paid for the job its more a case of getting free food accommodation etc. and also being able to climb/go on all the tours and trips for free. Sounds ideal for us! We got up bright and early and told Mr Zoom that we would start in the morning he seemed pleased.


On our first day one of the guides was sick so Joe basically ended up running the session and i helped out a little. Although I was not too keen on the trek to Hidden valley its all down hill and in my personal opinion very treacherous. Good day but very tired. The next day Zoom wanted us to go out deep water soloing with some of the boys that have worked here previously so we got another early start and headed off.. It was good fun but I think our opinions were very different on the matter as Joe loved it and wants to go every day for the rest of his life, however the boat made me feel sick and the water was cold and dirty. haha. Needless to say we had our dinner with Zoom and the gang which was nice an assortment of meats and rice and then we headed out for more beers.


We did find a pretty sick place to watch the sunset so thats something! 


Now I shall mention that there is nothing wrong with the job its a great opportunity for the right person but at this moment in time i’m not sure thats me! I would rather teach or give something back to the community rather than spend my time guiding fellow tourists around a place i’ve only just landed at myself. The debate continues and decisions are still to be made as to whether we stay or leave who knows? Joes convinced i’ll learn to love it but we shall see.

Paris X

Island Life

Cat Ba!!

Sorry its been so long first of all we’ve been super busy, but i’ve not forgotten you all honest! We eventually made it out of Hanoi alive and got our ferry across to Cat Ba all of which was enjoyable the boat was small and it was quite overcast so we couldn’t see very much but none the less it felt nice to be out of the city and headed for island life.

We got out the navigation and intended to head to Woodstock which had come highly recommended by several people we’d spoken to in Hanoi. It was a little out of town but we’d been told it was worth it so decided that we would check it out.


The drive there was sketchy to say the least but we’re getting used to it now. Half finished roads don’t scare us and we made it there nice and slowly but safely! they were quite busy and Joe was still not 100% so we opted for a private room rather than a hammock. It was more expensive but the rooms was nice and it was good to have a change of scenery. Woodstock was beautiful, it looks right out onto its own private bay and the interior is very relaxed with hammocks and mattresses on the floor for people to make themselves at home in. It also has a really cute art corner where people can paint or make crafts, that was by far one of my favourite features and I made some cute friendships bracelets using some of the shells from the beach.


After much conversation we decided that we’d better start looking for work as money was getting a bit tight so signed up to work away and started emailing a few prospective jobs most of which were in the south of Vietnam our intended destination. W spent 4 nights at Woodstock and all were throughout enjoyed, we made good friends with some of the staff and enjoyed parties on the beach with campfires and good music. For our last night we changed accommodation and opted for a tent on the beach. it was beautiful so nice waking up to the sea literally just outside your front door.


One thing I have to say about Woodstock is that the food is amazing! I’d go as far as to say that its some of the best food we’ve had so far. As much as we were enjoying our time at Woodstock we were racking up a hefty drink and food bill as well as the slightly pricey private room we’d had the first few nights. The decision was made that we should head for the town and seek cheaper accommodation and decide where we were to head to next.

Paris x