Virtual Continent Hopping- Halong Bay, Vietnam

30 day
Halong Bay, Vietnam

We’re doing a 2 day/2night cruise Day 11 and Day 12 will be in Halong Bay.…

Kayaking, swimming on the beach. learning how to make Vietnamese spring rolls and after dinner squid fishing.

Let your imagination get carried away, discuss what fun things you’ve experienced.

It’s a good thing they allowed us to buy the vacancies so our cruise didn’t get cancelled. That would have been heartbreaking. It’s sad we had 18 responses of yes but only 8 participants regularly respond. I guess it is what it is. I remember the first year I did this virtual traveling we had 17 regular participants in Maine and then we went back-packing across Europe and we had 34 participants. South America had 20 participants. It’s sad to me that blogging seems to be falling out of favor. Anyway, that’s my thoughts on the matter.

In our cabin was posted this list of do’s and don’t’s in Vietnam. I’ll definitely have to rein Vic in, he’s always showing public displays of affection. Apparently, their frowned upon here among other things.…

It’s hard to believe its been ten days since I was last in a kayak. It’s one of my ultimate favorite things to do on the water. So once I drained the coffee pot, and emptied my bladder for yet another time I hit the water racing initially just to stretch my arms out. My legs got quite a work out yesterday climbing around the falls and the day before pedaling my butt off on the bike.

I can’t help but wonder if my eyes are playing tricks on me but the guide assures Hạ Long Bay, is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rain forests.  He suggested I check out the islands Stone Dog and Teapot islets. He said, I would know by their shapes.
I navigated my kayak around to both islands.They’re indeed beautiful, but I was disappointed when I was told out that I cannot swim in the water. But once I learned why, I was glad I passed. The party boats and cruise ships dump their waste in the bay.

I learned later there are beaches that offer swimming that don’t have the same issues and are tested regularly for swimming safety. Carly raved about how nice the water was. Dang, I wish I had known. Oh well, maybe tomorrow since we’re here for two days.

I don’t know about you ladies but my tummy is growling, those rice cakes didn’t hold me after all the paddling. I’m hungry.

Lunch was  banh xeo, it’s origin was from a French dish, the iconic crepe. The name banh xeo translated to English literally means “sizzling cake”. Banh xeo is made from rice flour mixed with coconut milk and seasoned with turmeric which creates the yellow color. Inside, the crepe is packed with slices of boiled pork, shell-on prawns, bean sprouts and sprinkled with a handful of mung bean.

To fully experience banh xeo, you’ve got to be a vegetables lover and ready to “get down and dirty”. The reason is because you will be wrapping these slices with some fresh herbs and of course use your hands to eat. After wrapping, you will be dipping it in watered down fish sauce. Unlike cha ca or bun cha, banh xeo is widely popular in Southern Vietnam.

Since we’re all gathered in the kitchen we went onto our afternoon lesson of creating spring rolls. Yummy. more veggies for me.

The afternoon slipped away and it was time for our squid fishing. Yup, we’re fishing for part of our dinner. I did ask what happens if we don’t catch any the guide laughed said you eat veggies. I’m good with that. I do like batter fried squid occasionally but actually catching and killing it… not my cup of tea. Maybe after it’s cooked I’ll change my mind, I do tend to be fickle.

Prompt: Pick out one of the five legends/myths in this article: The Legend of Halong Bay: Discover Myths Behind The Names and write a story or poem based on the legend/myth

I was fascinated with learning more about The legend of Trinh Nu (Virgin) Cave. It’s a tragic love story. The cave is located on Bo Hon Island which is also where Sung Sot (surprise) Cave is located.

“The story goes as follows: once upon a time there was a beautiful fisherman’s daughter. She came from a poor family but one day a rich man, upon seeing her beauty, proposed to marry her. The girl was already engaged to another fisherman whom she loved dearly, so she declined the rich man’s proposal. Outraged by her dismissal, he banned her and her entire family to a desert island.

The girl’s fiance scoured the bay trying to find his long lost love but all to no avail, and on a rainy and stormy night, starving and exhausted, the girl turned to stone.

The fiance, who was still searching for her, got caught in the storm and his boat capsized. He washed ashore on the same deserted island and in a glimpse, he saw her. He tried reaching out to her, to talk to her , but it was no use: the wind swept away his words. He tried to get her attention by slamming rocks into a cliff, all to no effect. The boy tried and tried until he was too exhausted and he himself turned to stone as well.

The place where the girl turned to stone was Trinh Nu Cave. Nowadays there is a natural statue of her in front of the cave. The statue of the petrified man facing the Trinh Nu cave is also still there to this day. Since the two lovers never had a chance to marry, locals decided to call the cave ‘Trinh Nu’ or ‘Virgin’. ”

I can’t wait until tomorrow, we’ll be seeing it up close and personal. I’m going to take lots of pictures.

Two stones monuments immortalized
like the mythical gods of old
their glorified struggles for love
refused to die but instead
stood as a reminder
love cannot be destroyed if true
it will find a way to exist
inspiring each of us to dare
to love and to be loved.©

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ― Lao Tzu

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