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Vietnam-Ninh Binh for a Day

The night-before-yesterday, I was in a 4 person dorm room at the Long Hotel, where it was in the 90's. Three of us we're in the room-the other two being two girls who recently graduated from Boston University, one who had a prosthetic leg. All was fine for the most part-except during the twice during the night when the power went out-the room with deathly silent, with no whir of the fan and air conditioning. And it was hot. Really hot. This happened twice during the night-for I am not sure how long.

Yesterday, I awoke at 8:30 to go on an overpriced tour of the Ninh Binh area. I got in a Toyota SUV, and it ended up being with my two roommates from Boston. We went and saw three different places:

(1) The first place being a temple and pagoda on a mountain top, which requires a climb up a lot of thick steps in the heat ( which I later learned was around 107 degrees). There we're actually two different climbs to make-one to a pagoda and one to a temple. The views we're splendid, but the heat was stifling of the limestone cliffs, and it was very tiring in the heat. We all made it to the top-the two girls, including the one with the prosthetic leg, we'e some what faster than I was.


(2) We we're dropped off at a boat ride around the Trang An Landscape province with huge lake with temples and karnst cliffs. It was the three of us in the boat, along with a woman rowing the boat and taking us through caves. It was a nice long ride. We we're once again relaxing under the very very very hot sun, enjoying the impressive views and going through caves. After a while, the boat came to land-this was the filming site of the movie "King Kong-Skull Island", or something like that. Like most movies, I never saw it. But there we're signs indicating this was the filming site. The lady stearing the boat said repeatedly "King Kong King Kong", as she didn't seem to know much English. The two girls ran ahead instead of waiting for me. No doubt that they don't want to wait for a weird quirky old guy (they probably wouldn't have waited for me if I was their age). i walked off slowly, examining the huts, and a boat which was supposedly in the movie. I followed a path. After about 1/2 an hour, I discovered that we we're to pick up the same boat somewhere else-at the end. I waited at the end for the girls-and I was cursing them out under my breath. I figured they went on without me. They we're just selfish millennials, who don't have patience for someone their father's age hangin with them in Southeast Asia.


As I waited at the end of the dock, and the boat woman called for me to join her on the boat, I signaled for her to pick me up-it was then she pointed, as the two girls we're running down the hill. They thought they would rejoin the boat where it would drop us off, and got lost. I felt somewhat vindicated. We finished the ride-the boat driver signaled that she wanted a tip, and kept begging for money. I gave her some.

The guide picked us up again and drove us to the Long hotel, where we had lunch with lots of tour groups. The buffet was plentiful, and the food was good. The tour guide said he would pick us up at around 2:30-giving us an hour and a half. I ate some rolls, chicken pho, and took a nap in the hotel lobby.

He picked us up, and took us to (3) A large Buddhist temple complex in Nimh Binh, called the Bai Dinh temple complex, which isn't old-the building started in 2003-but it contains the largest temples and pagodas in Vietnam, along with thousands of small Buddhas. It was impressive, but I arrived in Hong Kong roughly 3-4 months ago-and since then-in China, Korea, and Japan-I have seen seemingly hundreds of Buddhist temples, and it is hard to be amazed at them any longer.


The driver picked us up and brought us back to the hostel, where we waited for the bus to Hue.

Posted by DavidPearlman 18:56 Archived in Vietnam

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