Saturday, September 3, 2011

been 2 ninh binh?

So our excursion trip (which is basically Fulbright's way of treating us like kings and queens so we have a good first impression of Vietnam and also bond with other Fulbrighters) was to Ninh Binh. And when I say we were treated like kings and queens, it is quite the understatement. This post will mostly consist of pics. Our resort, which is pretty much the nicest place I have ever been, was about a 2 hour bus ride from Hanoi. We passed many rice fields and eventually we saw these mountain-like things which turned out to be giant limestone formations. WARNING: pictures really don't do this place justice.
Street Markets of Hanoi


limestone formations in background of rice fields....ooooo aaaaaaahhh

Ninh Binh, the town itself was very, very small and in the middle of nowhere. You could tell there was not much money circulating through this region.

boonies of vietnam

And then all of the sudden WHAAMIE we are in this extremely luxurious resort. I think VN is hoping tourism is going to save VN. Although everything was lovely, I couldn't help think that we were living in excessiveness, especially compared to everything right outside of the resort. I mean, they even chaeffered us in a golf cart from our rooms to breakfast...

But I can't complain that much when this is where we were staying:

where the bubble bath was to be taken later...

porch with cool viney things hanging down

enjoying paradise as well


friend!

After "having a rest", as the Vietnamese like to call it (I don't know if the Vietnamese think us Americans always look exhausted, but I have been asked by countless people here if it is "time for my rest now?" "you go back and take nap now?" "now is a time you can has a rest..."). But we headed off to tour this nifty old temple where a king of Vietnam lived over 1000 years ago. Let me just put this out there though...sightseeing in Vietnam is not like sightseeing pretty much anywhere in the world...IT IS FLIPPING HOT AND HUMID and you want to die. So even though you are in this really awesome place, you struggle A LOT to pay attention. But here are some pics:

walking into temple--that man is our tour guide--he was very nice and adorable

temple...everyone here in VN is superstitious and burn incense to their ancestors and they used to have high walls into the doorway so monsters and bad spirits don't come in -- eek!

pomegranate tree--give me 

inside the temple -- once again many offerings to ancestors --including some juice cans, a few dong, and maybe some cookies?
The temple was nice, but very hot and I was attacked by Vietnamese people when I got off the bus. They basically shoved a hat on me and made me buy it...although I later thanked them in my heart because the boat ride would have been terrible without it. Next, was our boat ride through the limestone formations and into the caves. The pictures speak for themselves. It was probably one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had.

the boats we rode in -- a little nice lady paddled us
is this earth?
me doing a horrible job at trying to look native and normal
the 3 most awesomest (and only) fulbright students
into the caves we go!

scaries!!!





made it out alive!
seriously incredible and unreal
little mountain goal way up yonder
And here is a little video to sum everything up (I have a million more pictures from this but you have to cut yourself off at some point):



There is still another day and a half of orientation but I think I will stop here and let you take this all in.

2 comments:

  1. "he was nice and adorable" haha i love you. these pictures are amazing. i hope you are having a good time. it looks BEAUTIFUL there!!! i really liked the video you posted too, could hear the vietnamese, very cool. i think you should come back and implement these "rests" you speak of into american culture, i could definitely get used to those. hope all is well, can't wait to hear more about it!!! i will be emailing you soon. : )

    Lauren

    ps. pat thinks the pics are cool too and gives you a good laurel yoheeee shout!

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  2. im in the pics tee hee!! cant wait to hang out in saigon soon :D

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