Monday, November 28, 2011

Angkor Wat is special

Full of life. A place where men built on enormous scale and nature, smiling, kept on.
We kept to quiet paths. Crossing rivers of ants, passing lakes of moss, avoiding other visitors. Seeking quiet.
Through a break in the outer wall: the moat. Men fishing, a family gathering seeds. A monk chanting seeks quiet.
Angkor Wat is special.

Unfortunately, to visit Angkor Wat you must stay in Siem Reap.  Siem Reap is reminiscent of Lake George on a July 4th weekend.  Been there, done that.

Visiting Vietnam

  Has been fascinating in many senses.  For any traveler, it is a remarkable place: 55 peoples with separate languages and customs, thousands of years of history, centuries of struggle against colonial overlords.  For those of my era, it is more: a place we struggled not to visit, or where we 'served' our country, or lost friends or family.

Hanoi is chaotic: no moonlit skies, no quiet hide-a-ways; people and energy everywhere.

Nothing is hidden.  Life is lived on the streets. 

The environment ('Hanoi-sy' or 'Hanoi-ing' ) can wear on the unaccustomed visitor.

We found shelter with an old friend and his family who showed us Hanoi, introduced us to Bia Hoi, and helped make our visit a joy.

After Hanoi, we visited Sapa.  A small town in the mountains, near the border with China.  Sapa is a center for hiking (the highest point in Indochina is nearby) and shopping (many different minority groups visit to socialize and sell to each other and the tourists).
China from Vietnam
SaPa was wet and beautiful.  It was cool and rainy ( a pleasure after 90+ days in Hanoi).  Mud was knee deep.  The market was interesting.  Everything from moonshine to preserved lizards was available.

Fortunately, I uploaded my pictures in SaPa.  Unfortunately, I didn't do it again before losing my camera 6 weeks later in Ho Chi Minh City.

SaPa Delivery vehicle
SaPa at night

Chicken How?