Phu Yen – Binh Dinh, Day 3: Mang Lang Church And Da Dia Reef

This morning, I had an opportunity to visit Mang Lang Church. Actually, this church was beyond my expectation because it had the look of Notre Dame de Paris. I thought this was more like a replica than the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. The old wooden windows reminded me with my secondary school’s architecture which was also from the French colonial time.

Then we headed for Da Dia Reef (also called Gành Đá Dĩa or Ghềnh Đá Đĩa), the prominent tourist attraction of Phu Yen. The area was smaller than I thought though it had quite an impressive gate at the front.

I had another delicious lunch with seafood before leaving for Binh Dinh. We checked in Quy Nhon hotel around 2:30pm. My friends went out but I was too tired so I stayed in for a warm bath to relax my muscles.

Around 4pm, my friend convinced me to take a dip in the sea. It was fun, but my legs were still hurt.

My friend had an acquaintance in Quy Nhon so we skipped the tour dinner and ate out together. He took us to a restaurant by the river(?!). When we came back, the others joined us on a beach side cafe to enjoy the night.

P.s.:
Later I heard that other people had quite a good meal with chicken. I’d rather stay with them.

Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Day 1: Hanoi To Chengdu, Transit In Guangzhou

Got the boarding pass long ahead of time, but I was still late for the boarding time because I thought that the time on the paper was the beginning time of boarding. I heard the last call for several times and realized that I was late. My French friend and I had to run at Noi Bai airport. But that wasn’t the only trouble of the day.

Filled in the immigration quarantine form on the airplane for H1N1. Though the outbreak of H5N1 was severe, but I just needed to pass a simple gate and there was no special control as far as I knew.

However, the wait to clear customs at Baiyunport in Guangzhou was quite long, but I was impressed at the largeness of the airport. It’s too big that they use horizontal escalators to help people move from gate to gate.

Alex had a problem with Chinese customs because his Omo detergent pack. Maybe they thought it was heroin?

As we reached Guangzhou at 9AM and the next flight to Chengdu is in the afternoon, we decided to spend our transit time at Guangzhou downtown. So, we got on the bus No. 2 or so which stopped at the President Hotel in the city center.

We went to a Chinese restaurant with an all-Chinese menu. After several times explaining the dish, we had a claypot of chicken rice for lunch. It tasted good!

What I did in 3 hours in this city: viewing the metro (just the ticket system and not the trains), having lunch in a restaurant where everybody stared at Alex, getting lost, and buying a brand-new camera at the technology fair, a Canon IXUS 100 IS. The salesgirl’s English was kinda limited, but she was very good at her job. She confirmed that the camera was made in Japan, and gave me a discount after convincing me for a while. The camera was also equipped with a 4 GB Kingston memory card.

We had a lot trouble catching the bus back to Baiyunport. We waited for the bus in vain in front of the President Hotel but no bus seemed to pass by. We had a lot of problem asking around as we couldn’t speak Chinese while other didn’t understand English. All the signboards were written in Chinese without any Pinyin. At last, a nice taxi driver understood what Baiyunport meant. We took the taxi to the Baiyunport bus stop about a few hundred meters away from where we thought it should have been.

Got in time for checking in at Baiyunport, but the boarding machine didn’t recognize Alex’s online tickets. Luckily, we got help. But unluckily, we had the meal on the plane before it departed because of traffic jam at the airport. I did a quiz on the plane but didn’t finish it. I knew that my English was limited.

Because of the plane delay, we checked in at the Sim’s Cozy Garden Hostel at about 11:30 PM. I walked a lot today: at the airports, around the Guangzhou downtown, walking to find the hostel (under the rain), specifically getting lost several times. When we found that there was a shuttle car at the Old Sim’s Cozy, I found so relieved. And luckily, it was a free ride. Such a long day!

We haven’t booked the hostel in advance, so we were lucky to find that there’s still a room with 2 separate beds in this Sim’s Cozy. It seemed to be a well-known place in Chengdu for travelers.

Even the day was long and we were tired enough, we still watched the Italian movie Gomorra (part 1) together from my Dell netbook before sleeping.

Con Dao, Day 2: Hang Duong Cemetery And Prisons

We had a buffet breakfast in the resort restaurant at 7 AM. At 8 AM, we went to the Hang Duong cemetery, had an official ceremony then visited Vo Thi Sau’s grave. When we came to Le Hong Phong’s, it rained heavily and we had to run out. It was still raining when we visited An Son Temple. We postponed the tiger cases till the afternoon.

There was sunshine in the afternoon after all. Eve felt headache so she didn’t go with us. I sticked to her friend Binh coz he was kinda the only one I felt acquainted with. We went to Phu Tuong prison (Bagne 3 +) to see tiger cages French style. Then we passed the shooting range where they shot Vo Thi Sau and left at Phu Tho prison (Bagne 3) gate.

We then visited the tiger cases American style at Phu Binh prison (Bagne 7), Vestige of Skull and Ham Phan Bo in Cow Cage Isolated Area, then Ma Thien Lanh Bridge. The last site of the Con Dao trip we went to see was the Ben Dam port.

Today’s sites, especially the tiger cases left a special impact on everybody.

I tried to connect iPhone with my Dell netbook which runs on Ubuntu but failed. I went to sleep kinda early tonight coz the long day out wore me out.

Con Dao, Day 1: The Museum And Wharf 914

Today I got up early to go to the airport to catch the flight to Con Dao archipelago.

We departed Tan Son Nhat airport 30 mins later than expected. After 45 mins, we reached Con Son (Co Ong) airport and then the hotel around noon. The landing was a lil bit like a nightmare. I was so scared that I didn’t feel nauseous.

At 2 PM, it was raining a lot and I thought we had to cancel the visit to near spots. But luckily, the rain stopped. We walked to the museum nearby and listened to the Con Dao geographical and historical stories for half an hour. A few more walks led us to Wharf 914.

We left the wharf for Phu Hai prison (known as Bagne 1 for French people). We couldn’t see Phu Son prison (Bagne 2) because it was late.

We went to the beach in front of the resort for the evening swim. The beach here is more beautiful than in Vung Tau.
After dinner, we went for a karaoke section.