JUNE 12, 2018

Thuỷ như kính, khả ánh vạn vật.
Tâm như kính, khả ánh nhân sinh.
//
水如镜,可映万物。
心如镜,可映人生。
//
Water, like a mirror, can reflect everything.
Heart, like a mirror, can reflect life.

P.s.: Picture taken in Moc Chau, Son La, Vietnam in 2017.

Continue Reading JUNE 12, 2018

Trekking Ta Nang (Lam Dong)

My company organized a 2-day trip to trek Ta Nang for managers. Despite advice to practice before the trip, I didn’t think it would be as hard a the hikes/treks I did in Kangding, Danba, or Garzê in 2009. Turned out I was wrong somehow.

The day before the trek, we finished our work early and left the office for the Tan Son Nhat airport. We flew to Lien Khuong Airport at Dalat and then checked in to the hotel.
The next morning, we started off quite late, and only after the farm truck arrived at a small house did we begin to really walk off the paved area, around 10AM. It was very sunny, but I didn’t feel any tired in the morning because we only walked through a meadow. We were taking a rest real soon, around 1PM. After siesta, I began to realize that we had to climb over some steep slopes. Only at those places was I slower than others.

We reached to the tents at Ta Nang top at 4PM. Too early. I learned that we walked just about 8km today. My thighs hurt a bit.

I had a really fun night with my colleagues. We had a warm dinner by the fire, then we sang the night away. Though I brought my own backpack all the way up to the top, I had to admire the health of porters who brought almost everything that we needed.

This was the first time I slept in a tent on a mountain. It was a good experience though.
We woke up early the next morning, and helped unload the tents before going down. Because we had to take the flight home in Lam Dong, we didn’t have a chance to continue but go back. The road was not too difficult but there were many turns. Unluckily, I saw no waterfall.

Still I had the fear of crossing a very tiny tree bridge over a stream.

We were present at the small house around 10. I really walked slowly on the way back to talk with some female colleagues my age. The best thing about this trip was to connect with other managers.

I guessed I’d have a good tan now after the trek, and sore legs for a few days ahead.
The top wasn’t as high (as in China), my health wasn’t as good as I had been 9 years ago, but I wanna trek more mountains after this tiring trip.

My new pair of trekking shoes were a bit damaged after the trek. I’d have to bring them to the seller to repair soon.

Check out the video of the trip done by the organizer team:

Looking back at the trip, it was my most memorable moment in this company. The previous company trip wasn’t as delighted.

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JANUARY 20, 2018

Lúc hứng riêng mình dạo,
Khi vui chỉ tự hay.
Ði theo nguồn nước đổ,
Ngồi ngắm áng mây bay.
//
興來美獨往,
勝事空自知。
行到水窮處,
坐看雲起時。
//
I’d go out for a walk alone when I so please,
What a pleasure this brings, only I would know.
I’d stroll to seek the fountainhead,
And there take a seat to admire the sky and watch clouds grow.

P.s.: Picture taken in Moc Chau, Son La, Vietnam in 2017.

Continue Reading JANUARY 20, 2018

Dien Bien – Hai Phong, Day 8: Hai Phong To HCMC

So the trip was almost over. We had the last meal at a rice place near the bus station. First time I tried sour soup with a strange fruit. I had to ask for its name. Turned out it was called plum mango or mango plum in English which is a species of flowering plant native to Southeast Asia.

Then at noon, I took a xe om to the Cat Bi Airport. The electric board let me see a lot of flights cancelled due to the weather. The airport was as small as the bus station which made me surprised. I thought it would be larger as Hai Phong was considered the 3rd largest city of Vietnam. But I was wrong.

Luckily, I got on the plane just a lil bit later than expected.

I got home around 5 PM and waited for my sis news. At midnight, she told me she was home safe and sound.

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Dien Bien – Hai Phong, Day 7: Hai Phong

The sleeper bus reached Hai Phong City 15 hours later. The day before must have been the longest day of my life. I thought it was no better when a “xe om” rider showed us a place which I thought was worse than a toilet. Luckily, we decided to get out of it and checked in into a hotel which was also near the Nem Nghia bus station.

It was cold outside but we still decided to take a taxi to the Hai Phong’s Opera House. From then we walked and found a place called “Bánh đa cua Bà Cụ” (famous for Hai Phong type of noodles).

After lunching, we went around to visit some temples and pagodas at Le Chan District.

In the evening, we had some snails for dinner, and enjoyed the hot dessert “sủi dìn” (a type of “chè trôi nước”, similar to the Chinese’s tangyuan).

Unluckily, my sis’ plane from Hai Phong back to HCMC was cancelled due to the weather. She was told to depart from Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi. Hope she would be fine on the bus back there.

Continue Reading Dien Bien – Hai Phong, Day 7: Hai Phong

Dien Bien – Hai Phong, Day 6: Dien Bien To Hai Phong

This must have been the worst day of our trip. In the morning, we had a terrible bread breakfast at a cafe nearby.

Just when we got on the sleeper bus to depart Dien Bien for Hai Phong, everything went from bad to worse. The coach reached the passes right away, and we had to endure a severe motion sickness. For my sis, it didn’t stop until she vomited twice. I had a severe headache.

The worst thing was that, at the first stop on the go, the coach left us behind. I had to phone the bus for them to come back. Dammit!

I swore to myself I would never get on a sleeper bus for such a long journey. My advice for people who would choose to travel by a sleeper bus is that never take the upper level where your vision is limited and motion sickness is enhanced.

Continue Reading Dien Bien – Hai Phong, Day 6: Dien Bien To Hai Phong

Dien Bien – Hai Phong, Day 5: Museum Of Dien Bien Phu Victory And Him Lam Hill

As we saw almost everything that was worth seeing in Dien Bien, we decided to go back to the A1 Hill to visit the Museum of Dien Bien Phu Victory.

When we were back, we enjoyed “chè bưởi” (grapefruit sweet soup) on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street.

At lunch break, we saw that the Him Lam Hill was under restoration on Dien Bien TV. So we forced the taxi driver to take us there even though he (just like the 2 riders the day before) insisted that there was nothing to see. In fact, we saw some fixes on the make, and trekked up to some historic sites of the hill. We found no way to reach the memorial stones on top of the hills, but at least we could reach a place where Phan Dinh Giot covered a loophole with his body.
60 years ago today, Vietnamese troops fought the first battle here at the Him Lam Hill. I felt so proud to be here at this historic moment.
In the evening, we had another rice dinner at the place we ate yesterday. Another delicious meal.

Then we went back to the hostel to enjoy watching the “Ban Flower Festival” on TV.

Continue Reading Dien Bien – Hai Phong, Day 5: Museum Of Dien Bien Phu Victory And Him Lam Hill

Dien Bien – Hai Phong, Day 4: Muong Phang, Hong Cum, Thanh Ban Phu

My sis and I woke up very early this morning to catch two “xe om” to Muong Phang where we would visit the General Vo Nguyen Giap’s Headquarters. The riders took the shorter way and we could really enjoy the different culture compared to the Dien Bien Phu City. We also passed a few suspension bridges; the last one made me scared a bit as it was on the fix.

Turned out that we needed to trek up to the Vo Nguyen Giap’s Bunker on the hill. Fabulous trekking for me!

After that, the riders took us back to the Dien Bien Phu and headed to Hong Cum and Thanh Ban Phu (also called Hoang Cong Chat Temple). We also paid tribute to the heroic martyrs at Doc Lap Cemetery.

Unluckily, Hong Cum only had the memorial stone.

Later, the riders took us to Nguyen Chi Thanh Street (which is called the 15m street by local people) to have lunch. In the evening, we also headed back here for our first rice dinner of the trip. They offered a delicious meal with a lot of vegetables. I liked it.

The city square was crowded by people gathering to see the big rehearsal before the “Lễ hội hoa ban” (White flower festival) was aired live on television tomorrow. It seemed interesting with so many cultural events.

Continue Reading Dien Bien – Hai Phong, Day 4: Muong Phang, Hong Cum, Thanh Ban Phu