Monday, October 27, 2014
''out in the wild''
Last Sunday (19th October 2014), I woke up at the crack of dawn, feeling tired. Had a hot shower, checked the girls while waiting for Roland to finish his shower. Everyone was already in the bus, leaving Roland and I the last 2 people to get in the bus. Don't worry, it was very predictable! We then picked up others at the Hanoi University and were told the journey will take about 2 hours. We didn't expect much of this trip but a snooze fest.
Before reaching to the pagoda, we decided to have breakfast at some local cafe. It wasn't long till we realized we were in the middle of nowhere. The cafe we stopped was just an excuse to get the others awake and a pit stop to pee. The shop was surprisingly small which serves only Phõ (noodle) and nothing else. Options were either with pork or beef. Mind you it was 8am and we were hungry so Nazurah and I decided to get beef noodles which she ended up eating it alone. It didn't taste good. Although I remembered saying I like to be more adventurous and try Vietnamese food, this was just not on my list. Apart from that, I had encountered my worst nightmare when i decided to go to the toilet. We were told the toilet will be clean but what i experienced was otherwise. The place smells like something died in there and the place looks ghastly. There were literally shit everywhere. I am not kidding. It was everywhere! It was basically a hellhole. But i had no choice. I thought to myself; will i be able to pee here and suffocate myself or will i walk away.
2 mins later, i decided to pee.
After finishing breakfast, we continued our journey to Ninh Binh, passing empty classic designed building, rocky roads, cemetery on swamps and empty spaces. But minutes later, we were surrounded by green mountains with fogs covering the top part and lakes covering the bottom. Upon reaching the place, we were brought to the line for the electric car to transport us to the temple. It was pretty impressive and scary at the same time. It wasn't that high but the view was breathtaking. There are 4 temples altogether with different stories behind it; how monks tried to change from being mortal to immortal and how they want to lead people to the right path by helping others when in need. I wasn't quite sure with the story as i was stocked - feeling amazed by the 1000 ton gold Buddha in front of me. It was beautiful and beautiful was just it.
Then, we went to Trang An for a boat ride in a lake. The word 'bliss' was the right word to describe the place. The place screams serenity as it is located away from the busy town. It is such an amazing view. Upon arrival, we took a group photo and proceeded to the que because all of us were so excited. I was in one boat with Jas, Izza and Roland. I knew instantly the boat trip is going to be fun. Funny moments were shared as we rowed the boat towards this scary-looking cave. I believe there were at least 10 caves we went into, which took about 2 hours. It was fun at first but an hour later, we just wanted to get out from there as the driver slowly paddled along the calm-watered lake. When we reached the turning point, Roland decided to change seats and made the boat wobble. "Ish..dau dau..." and "nah kana marah lagi" was heard from the woman and Rolland. He decided to put his legs in the cold water while lying down, sleeping. We were already bored by then - even though we haven't covered most of the journey. After the endless selfies, we decided to race with the others boats. Laughter filled the air as we tried to paddled the boat as fast as we can but were not as close to the other boats.
I remember one moment vividly when Roland started to do something funny. He pulled the red flag and wave it to show his enthusiasm for the race. Just with a first wave, the flag flew above our heads and eventually to the water. We then had to make a u-turn to pick the flag up, while the others kept rowing their boats. We were left so far behind till we could not see them anymore. People were staring at us as they passed us by.
*can it be any narrower?*
It gets scarier when we entered the cave. I instantly imagined crocodiles trying to make our boat capsize. But what's more scarier was when we saw dozens of pots with red clothes tied around the top just like in the Chinese vampire movies. Also, there was a doll, just lying there..in the dark cave...creep the shit out of me! The trip soon turned from fun to drag. We joked about how the driver would eventually gets tired and decided to pull a small fan and use it a motor to get the boat move. (More pics below)
*that scary part of the trip*
*the women who paddled using her feet*
Nonetheless, I just love this trip. I have to say It was an experience that I will never forget. This was my first time. All you need are your funny friends, crazy jokes and breath-taking view. Perfect combo, if you ask me.
till next time. :)