Sunday, December 4, 2011

X-Tour: Vietnam 2

On 19 Dec 2008, we, a group of Vajrayanists, went to Vietnam. We visited Hanoi, Saba, Halong Bay, Hue, Danang and Hoi An. In May 2009, we published a travel book on our Vietnam tour.

On 2 Sep 2010, we went to Vietnam again. This time, we visited the Ho Chi Minh City (HCM), the Mekong Delta, the Guchi Tunnel and Vungtau, a beach resort situtated 125km away from HCM. In Vungtau, we paid respect to a giant statue of Jesus on a hill top, where thousands of dragon flies were dancing around the hill, as if they were the angels giving us a welcoming party!

We visited several arts galleries and saw some beautiful pictures showing snowcapped mountains and fields of wild flowers. Initially I thought maybe the artists did their paintings after visiting Switzerland or New Zealand in winter. But I was later told by our Vietnamese tour guide, “Prince Chu Chu”, that the beautiful landscape was his hometown – Dalat. At that point in time, I decided that I must make a trip to Dalat before publishing our second travel book on our Vietnam tour.

The opportunity finally came! On 5 Nov 2011, a group of 21 of us boarded the “iron bird” once again for a 6-day tour to HCM, Phanthiet and Dalat. Phanthiet is located in the south-eastern coastal line of Vietnam, famous for its fishing village and beach resorts. There is a vast piece of sand dune here where we did our sand boarding. It reminded us of our memorable experience doing sand boarding in The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park of Perth in Australia several years ago. Phanthiet is serene, like Pali of Indonesia. We saw many Russion tourists on the streets in Phanthiet.

We did not see any traffic lights in Dalat. That was truly an eye-opening experience to a group of city dwellers like us. We strolled along the Xuan Huong Lake in the evening, and relished a cup of Vietnamese coffee while admiring the serenity of the lake, the greeneries in the surrounding and the reflections of villas and pine trees on the quiet surface of the lake…, what an enjoyable experience! The flowers in Dalat Garden abound, making us reluctant to shut our eyes even for a moment…. And we saw lots of lavenders blossoming fully in a quiet corner in the garden. That prompted me to think about when we would be making our trip to Hokkaido - my hometown in my past life in my dream.

On our return to HCM, we visited the city hall, an old cathedral and a heritage post office. We also had our dinner onboard a cruise, enjoying the music and dance performances while admiring the night scenes along the Saigon River. We saw a group of Korean tourists who were seemingly drunk, singing and dancing wildly. “A Midnight Kiss” (a Chinese song) lingered for a long time in the air above Saigon River that night….

Now the image of Sister Zhen (our Vietnamese tour guide) suddenly appeared in my mind. She told us about how the Chinese fled Vietnam during the Vietnam War, with many of them drowning in the sea as a result. She had tried to flee too, twice, in vain. We told her candidly, had she managed to board the “pirate” ship, we would not have met her today. One could imagine how pitiful the lives of the Chinese were during that period! These pictures of sorrow that appeared in my mind seemed to be out of place. Heaven! Why must sentient beings go through such sufferings…?

This time, there was a special traveler who joined us for the tour. She was none other than the main character in the 5th Chapter of our travel book entitled “X-Tour: The Tour of Birth and Death (North India & Nepal)”. To her, travelling means spiritual practice. The spiritual connection between us had quietly rekindled. Where will Summer be next? Which part of the world? Only heaven knows!


Acho Rinpoche
23 Nov 2011

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