Surreal Isles Rising Up From the Sea
Here I sit, aboard a ‘junk’ in the middle of the Bai Tu Long Bay, the less famous, but even more spectacular bay off the coast of Ha Long City, Vietnam. Ha Long Bay, a Unesco World Heritage site, is apparently overrun with tourists, boat traffic and the accompanying litter if the blogs, reviews and our cruise company are to be believed. This trip is a less hurried, less crowded (nearly desolate, with the exception of a few local fisherman) route out of Ha Long Bay and through Bai Tu Long Bay.
Sunrise from my room.
Junks with sails.
I’ve seen pictures in magazines (these photos, and all their flaws, are all mine) and on the walls of restaurants all my life, never really knowing where this place was, but always thinking how beautiful it seemed. The most skilled photographers struggle with how to best represent its beauty.
Nearly 2000 isles, jutting up from the ocean as though supported by elephant’s feet.
Fisherman Motoring Into the Isles
Covered in random patterns of greenery, their abrupt, angular rising create an outline against the sea and sky that can’t be compared to anything I’ve seen before.
I find myself in awe and oh-so-grateful amidst this surreal setting. This is a testament to ‘if you believe, you can’.
Face in the Foliage
As if the beauty is not enough to fill my senses, the universe has honored me with the presence of 17 other incredible passengers on their own journeys of discovery. There is a family from Boston, 5 members and 3 generations, spending some time together discovering the world before the younger generations relocate to Australia. There are 2 young couples from Singapore, both full of life and kindness. Willing to teach me about the state of Singapore and what it means to live there. Another couple is from the US, full of love for each other, on their honeymoon. Another from the UK on holiday, celebrating the recent news that they will soon be three. There is the couple from Australia, lively and warm; on a belated honeymoon celebration. And last, but certainly not least, the couple from Dubai, a French couple, who are enjoying a hard earned holiday with their young twin boys safely cared for at home.
I wanted to detail the passengers to give context to my experience. Each and every one of these people have been kind and generous with their time. They are happy and witty. Well traveled and sincere. In short, there seems there are no pretenses, and very few, if any, barriers. We are having a spectacular time taking in the beauty and learning about each other and our cultures along the way.
Nothing can replace the knowledge I gain, or the incredible warmth I feel, when I see new beauty, or share a meal with new friends. Connections. It’s all about connections. I want to connect with the world …….the good part of the world. I want to make the not-so-good parts better. With every place I visit and every person I meet, I find myself a little closer to learning who I am and where I am headed.
Time to go………we just dropped anchor. Kayaking and swimming in paradise. Life is good.