Day 5 - April 15

Our free day turned out to be much more of an adventure than we ever could have imagined. After a grueling ride up the mountain in vans exempt of leg room and legitimate air conditioning, we arrived at a glorious viewpoint where we proceeded to take plenty of corny pictures of each other holding up the giant Buddha statue in the distance. After a much needed bathroom break, we began our descent into the mysterious arena of alleged pickpockets which all turned out to be very nice people. Our first score of the day was a bag of fish food which the mob of koi fish beneath the bridge was eager to receive. We then walked past some intriguing fruits which were described to us as being “some kind of quat,” and soon after we had our first taste of Vietnamese ice cream, which was only a tiny bit suspicious. The next attraction was a beautiful temple where we all paid our respects by burning incense and it was a soothing experience for all involved. Finally we reached the enormous Buddha statue, and much to our excitement, it was hollow. We made our way to the enticing entrance, but not before a charming little man enthusiastically squeezed Marcus and made him wear his hat. The Buddha was an incredibly impressive structure, and we were surprised to find that it was built as recently as 2002. We popped out of the Buddha’s rear end and discovered a cozy restaurant where we were all served special Vietnamese pancakes that were very difficult to eat but very delicious. As we chowed down, dark, foreboding clouds began to gather above us. Within minutes, the torrential downpour of the century came down upon us, ricocheting like bullets off the tin roof of the restaurant. We attempted to wait it out by reclining in the nearby hammocks, but we soon realized that it was showing no signs of stopping. After wandering around in the Buddha’s innards for a while, we decided to purchase ridiculous, polka-dotted rain ponchos for everyone and venture out into the plaza that was quickly becoming a river. The sensation of the water on our bare feet as we sloshed along what was once a road and gazed out at the misty temples was oddly tranquil. We finally reached a dry area where we waited for the vans while the locals stared at us and probably whispered about how absurd we looked. With a slight lapse of excitement we boarded the vans and took a wet ride back to the bus, and then took a slightly less wet but still very wet ride back to the hotel where we collapsed on our beds with exhaustion. After a delicious dinner of pho and/or rice and some evening shenanigans, sleep beckoned to us and we answered its call.


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Matthew Lawrence says:

Laughing hysterically - polka dotted rain ponchos paints a very vivid picture... love to see photos. As well the idea of exiting Buddha's rear into a restaurant! Quite the juxtaposition!

With all the rain it must make all of you feel right at home. Great recount Edward - love it!

Alan Kahn says:

Hilarious! Buddha's butt pancakes! Keep the blogs coming. I am in the Golan heights in Israel marvelling at how technology connects us!

Maggie Heffernan says:

Wow. I could never have even imagined a more wonderful story. Thank you for all those colorful details Edward and taking us on such a wonderful ride!

Karen Carlson says:

Great job on keeping us updated on your experiences with the blog! Reading it aloud in the morning from our deck in PV is definitely our daily highlight! So glad that the trip is going along so smoothly!

Diane Schumacher says:

In addition to being hilarious and entertaining, Edward, your experiences are a good metaphor for life: it is often true that what we expect to bring us meaning and relevance turns out to be hollow, while tranquility and import can be found in something as unexpected and serendipitous as a polka-dotted poncho puddle-jumping party!

Thanks for sharing your adventures with all of us!

Allan Batchelder says:

If you run out of things to do with the Vietnamese students, you can always teach them Park Bench or Cross the Room (also known as "Common Ground") or Family Photos...

Nam-Phuong Nguyen says:

What an exciting adventurous day! The temple on the mountain is said to be very sacred where your wishes come true. A truly blessed place to visit. The view from the mountains must've been peaceful and picturesque. Amazing to see such a big Buddha that people can actually walk through. To have a restaurant nearby for lunch must have been really enjoyable to try new dishes as well. The torrential rain is typical monsoon-like weather for Vietnam that can happen anytime of the day. It sounds like a wonderful day and to end it will a hot bowl of pho is heavenly. Everyone must've slept well that night. Beautiful memories of Vietnam....

Debra Prinzing says:

I can only imagine what the "ridiculous shenanigans" turned out to be, but I do love your storytelling skills, Edward! especially the part about the Buddah's "innards"