Well, it’s official. An Giang University has now blocked all webpages related to blogspot, so therefore I’ll probably be updating less. I really could go ranting on a tangent here, but I won’t. I’ll talk to some people in the technology department and see what they say about it all. Who knows, maybe something different will become of it.
Anyhow, I wanted to write about yet another trip that I went on with some students. This one was to the coastal town of Ha Tien, where I went before with some other students during the week preceding Tet. These are second-year students; my class from last spring semester. Sharla is their teacher now, so Sharla and I were invited to go along and Tyler turned down the invite due to his health (he hasn’t exactly been feeling himself for several days).
The one drawback to this trip, as it is with nearly every student trip, is the early departure time. This trip in particular took the cake in that department. They wanted to leave at 3 a.m., and Sharla had said that she and I would meet them at 2:50 at the school gate to collectively wake up the security guard to let us out. Hence, I set my alarm for 2:30 figuring all would be okay. Except I couldn’t get to sleep until 11. And then my alarm went off at 2:30 and I snoozed it, thinking I had time for at least 5 more minutes in bed. When the alarm went off again it was closely followed by the sound of Sharla knocking on my door. The students had come at 2:30 to get her and I was next in line. I stumbled out of bed and threw on some clothes before stumbling to the waiting bus.
We drove and I nodded off at several points. Once we stopped for the driver to get some coffee and I did too; it gave me a little more energy, but not much. We finally arrived to our first destination: some hill that I didn’t remember the name of. It was still about a quarter to seven, and the guard there wouldn’t let us climb around until seven, so after some waiting we began climbing up the path. It was quite interesting. It seemed as though there were dozens of caves on all sides of the mountain/hill. Some were Buddhist shrines and also the students were saying that during the war soldiers would hide there. However, it was a rather muggy morning and I’ve never been so completely soaked with sweat by 8 a.m., which was the time we finally finished our little trek. I left there losing only about a gallon of sweat and a few drops of blood after stepping into a hole while walking inside one of the caves. Then it was time for the beach.
I did what I usually do at beaches: sit. I actually dozed off because of the exhaustion while most of the students splashed around and played games on the sand. We had some packed lunches and then we were informed that it was time to go to the market in Ha Tien.
The market was rather dull and it was insanely hot and sunny, so Sharla and two students and I split for a café and had a cool drink. Then people were piling back onto the bus and it was time to go to yet another place. We arrived at the Cave Pagoda and most of us (including yours truly) had fallen asleep during the ride, so we were all groggy. It’s actually a rather interesting place: you have to walk through a kind of cave/tunnel and you emerge near a beach. But we were after a boat that took us around the corner from the beach to a more famous cave. We docked and walked on a little wooden walkway, which at times was knee-deep in the water, and found we were in a narrow, but very tall cave where at one point, a king of one of Vietnam’s dynasties was hiding. We had a tour guide, but of course he only spoke Vietnamese, so some of the students were helping Sharla and I understand what was being said. After we all got out of the cave, it was a brief trip back to the shore and we walked out past the pagoda to the place where all the buses were parked. Some of the students wanted to buy stuff at the market there, so most people split up and went in their own little groups. Sharla and I were with two students and we decided to buy some kind of big, shrimp-like thing. There’s no word in English to properly to describe them, but they are very tasty. We bought a kilo for the four of us and the seller dumped them into a pot of boiling water and served them to us in a plastic bag. Not long after we ate them it was finally time to head home.
We got back to the guesthouse around 7:15. We left Long Xuyen when it was dark and came back when it was dark. Sleep came very quickly for me.