Whilst in Bai Tu Long Bay I got the chance to roam around the docks and watch the goings-on of the trade.
The place was absolutely heaving with Vietnamese tourists boarding boats for their island vacations, fishermen reeling in their fresh catches, seamen securing ships, and street vendors screaming bloody murder for someone to buy a bag of peanuts.
Most interestingly though I got to see people hard at work at their specific trades.
For instance, I learned how ice cubes were made and packaged, how goods were ferried off in containment, how boats underwent structural maintenance – all through simply observing.
The harbour here seemed to be the hub of a lot of local production. Someone, somewhere, was bound to enjoy some of that ice with their Tra Da.
As a journalist-in-training, I whipped out my phone and took a couple of videos to give you a little taste of the buzz and commotion of the Bai Tu Long Bay docks.
How to get your motorbike onto your boat
A man in full motorbike regalia (which is out of place compared to most flip-flop clad motorists) asks that his motorbike be lifted onto a passenger ship to take it to a neighbouring island.
Watch the crowds gather as some resourceful souls make the crossing.
How to make ice for your Tra Da.
Ever thought: “I wonder how they make ice cubes on a commercial scale in Northern Vietnam?”
Think no more.
In this video you see men using makeshift slides to transport huge blocks of ice onto a ship and into a grinder (where it gets crunched up into cubes).
Please feel free to be annoyed at the little boy who kept getting in shot.