I have been a busy boy lately. From Feb. 20th – Mar. 3rd I was working at Dong Thap Community College in Dong Thap province, which is in the South, in the Mekong delta. Once I got back to Hanoi I had lots of running around to do: a meeting in Ha Tay; a workshop to attend; an English class to teach at a college in the outskirts of Hanoi. And last weekend, from Mar. 15th – 18th, I was working at Lao Cai Community College in Lao Cai province, which is in the mountains very near the border with China.
Along the way I was able to take some pictures–mostly in Dong Thap and Lao Cai–so instead of typing on and on, I’ll just share some pictures and fill in the blanks with words where necessary.
While I was in Dong Thap I had plenty of work to do, but we still had time for some exploring. One one occasion they took me to see a few pagodas…
…such as this one. The pagoda/Buddhist culture seems different in the South. There appeared to be more Buddhists there than at most pagodas I have visited in the North. Next, we went to the house that was owned by the Chinese man that a young Marguerite Duras had an affair with many years ago:
It has become a bit of a tourist attraction in Dong Thap, as Duras has written about the whole thing in her memoirs (and there was even a movie about it!). It’s a very old house, but very nicely preserved and decorated on the inside:
On my second-last day in Dong Thap, we had another excursion. They took me to Tram Chim Park. Tram Chim is a wetlands area, home to many different kinds of birds–the most special of all being the Sarus Crane. We took boats down the winding river…
Once we were done trying to find birds with the binoculars they gave us, we hopped back in the boats and took a different route back, and had lunch in the town nearby.
Lao Cai, on the other hand, was a very different sort of place. Dong Thap is in a river delta, and Lao Cai is up in the mountains. Since I was only in Lao Cai for 3 days, I didn’t have much time for sight-seeing, but I did get to spend one morning out in Lao Cai City with 2 of the teachers that I was working with there. We went to see two pagodas that are near the border with China. There is only a small-ish river separating China from Vietnam, and there is a border crossing there for Chinese and Vietnamese to cross back-and-forth.
Look, it’s China!
I didn’t really take any pictures in the pagodas that we went to. The most remarkable thing about the first pagoda we went to was the huge tree outside of it. I couldn’t get any good shots of it–they all turned out badly–so this is the best I could do: