Ninh Binh City, Vietnam

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This is my third post for today! WHEEE! I made a record!

I got nothing to do for today so I decided to share my adventure in Ninh Binh.

If you want to go on a two day trip with less budget and sure to have a good time, just follow what my two friends and I did! It’s all worth the effort! You’ll surely love it! Take my advice on that!

Exactly a year ago, my colleagues and I decided to go on a two-day trip away from the noisy and busy Hanoi.

First, we got on a bus going to Nam Dinh at a bus station in My Dinh, Hanoi. It took us three hours from Hanoi to Nam Dinh City.

Upon arrival we left our bags in another friend’s flat. But if you don’t know anyone in the city, you can find a Hotel nearby. There are small, cheap but comfortable hotels. Vietnamese people call them ” khách sạn” pronounced as /kaksan/. You just have to show your passports or a residence visa if you have one.

Then we had lunch at “Big C”- a supermarket her in Nam Dinh. Since, the trip is exhausting and it definitely makes you hungry, a fast food would be a good choice. I recommend trying an ice cold “nuoc mia“-sugarcane juice. It’s totally refreshing.

Right after lunch, we went around the supermarket to buy stuffs for our day trip tomorrow. I would recommend to buy the following:

1.  a bottled water (one for each person)

2. a biscuit or something to munch on

3. a wide brimmed hat

4. sunblock (a must if you don’t want to go back to the city soot black)

5. comfortable shoes and clothes if you don’t have one

After all the shopping, it’s time for some relaxing time so we got our teeth cleaned in a humble dental clinic in Truong Chinh St.. It’s very cheap about 50, 000 VND. But don’t expect a super white teeth after, you got what’s worth your pay. (wink)

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Not far from the dental clinic, there is another supermarket (apologies for not remembering the name) . But surely you can’t miss it if you ask. The people are really approachable.

On the top floor of the supermarket, there are bump cars.

It’s time to let out that inner child in you! Time to ride bump cars!

Guess what?

I did just that! It really feels good! ^^

And on the same floor, you’ve got to try their 5D movie theater which movies’ only last for ten minutes. The chairs will just shake you a bit, but it isn’t that bad! ^^

Third thing to do for the day is to reward yourself with a sumptuous meal after releasing that child in you. LOL

There’s only one Korean Restaurant in the City. I personally know  the owner, he is  one accommodating guy. The “samgyupsal” – grilled meat is just so filling!

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Back to the room……..sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep~

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Day 2

We rode the bus going to Ninh Binh City at 6 in the morning.

It takes about an hour from Nam Dinh City.

When we got to the place, we got on a small boat which will cruise you around the river and through the small caves and back.

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The cruise will take about 3 hours. There’ll be some Pagoda/Temple’s to visit along the way.

You have to be prepared to climb long steps to enjoy the place.

Be sure to buy scorched rice which is a specialty of Ninh Binh City. It’s crunchy and savory. It’ll be a good gift to friends when you get back in the city.

For lunch, you have to ride a taxi and ask the driver to take you to a nearby restaurant, about 5 minutes from the river. It is owned by a local family. It’s actually a house, where they use an extra space for the restaurant.

You’ll be given a menu but I suggest ordering the honey chicken they got. I find it really tasty and it suits foreign taste buds, if you are not used to Vietnamese food yet.

The owner of the restaurant is really accommodating, and they offered to let us take a nap in a spare room they got next to their house for free. ^^

After the relaxing nap, it’s time to get our bodies moving and prepare to climb the hundred steps going to the biggest Buddhist temple in Vietnam.The Bai Dinh Temple is one great temple. On the way to temple, you’ve got to climb a hundred steps and along the stairs are giant Buddha statues. There are about 500 of them.

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After visiting the temple, it’s time to treat yourself with the favorite dessert of Vietnamese people – ice cream.You can get one in the city center. I just love Vietnamese ice cream! It’s not too sweet but it’s got that  kick in it!

From the city center, you can hail a taxi or a bus to Nam Dinh City.

We got to Nam Dinh at half past eight. It was so tiring but really worth the walk not to mention the climb. ^^

For dinner, it’s good to enjoy “Bun Cha”- the very famous rice noodle of Vietnam. There is one in Truong Chinh St.

The best way to end the day is a relaxing bath in the hotel.^^

Day 3

Time to go back to the capital. You can catch a bus at Nam Dinh Bus Station. There is a sign board that says Hanoi in front of the bus.

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If you decide to do the trip, leave me a comment, I’ll be glad to help.

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green moon

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I was visiting my elementary school for an internship.

The place seemed like the time where I left it 20 years ago.

As I entered the gate, I noticed that there weren’t a lot of students inside. I wondered if it was a vacation season.

I knocked on the faculty room and met two former teachers in elementary. One was sitting behind the table to the right of the door. Above her table is a glass panel overlooking outside the office.  There was a small opening on the glass enough for people to put their hands into. Maybe it is used for the handing out cash payments or if anyone comes to visit and pays the tuition. I wasn’t sure, maybe it was for that purpose. I realized the place was used as a classroom for grade one back then. They reconstructed it to look like a small office.

As I’ve said there are two people in the room, the other one was lying on the sofa just right in front of the door which when opened would show the long sofa, like the ones in those hospital clinics. The teacher was lying on the long sofa, both feet towards the door, as if she knew that I was coming .

She gave me a warm welcome and offered me to take a seat at a table that seemed nowhere before but is now just next to the sofa.

Someone came and opened the door, it was my former classmate in elementary . We went to the same university but I never bothered being close with her then. She was in a different class in the university. Her name is Cefe.

We both greeted each other awkwardly, but at the back of my head I was relieved to find someone of my age.

The teacher offered us food, but there weren’t any packed stuffs to serve us.

Cefe was bold enough to go through a small garden at the back of the office and opened some closed pots along a line of other pots. I realized there is a small eatery just behind the office. But I hesitated saying that I didn’t bring money to pay for the food.

Later, I realized that I was eating with Cefe in the same table. I was hungry after all.

My colleagues from a previous English Center came and told me they just want to hang out in a pool nearby the eatery. At this moment, Cefe is out of sight. I wondered if she left and continued the internship.

‘ Why are you here? Don’t you have classes today?”, I asked my former colleagues.

They said it was Saturday and there is no need for them to go to school. That explains why there weren’t a lot of students.

Few hours later my friends were having a good time  swimming while I was alone in the corner watching them. I couldn’t swim well like the rest.

” Marj, you should teach Ella how to swim”, my thought s were interrupted with a comment from my former colleague.

” Yeah, we can practice in the sports center in the city.”, I added, feeling happy that someone sympathizes with me.

Marj, a colleague, agreed to teach me but asked me to show what kind of swimming skills I got.

I quickly jumped to the pool and showed my beginner swimming skills. I swam noisily. I use my feet to paddle and move across the pool. It was hard for me to use my arms.

I enjoyed the swimming pool splurge and didn’t notice the time. When I got out of the water, the place was empty. I realized everybody already left.

I went out of the glass door but then realized it was an entrance to another street. I found my friends waiting outside with their motorbikes, while I had to close the sliding door and lock the glass one after that.

They zoomed out of the place and I was left on foot, for I don’t have any motorbike. I didn’t get one since I don’t know how to drive.

But for some reason, I wasn’t angry, upset or anything. I was just happily walking on my way home. Then I noticed someone very familiar.

He’s a boyfriend of my colleague. A Japanese guy who came to visit to see his girlfriend. He was from a vacation, I thought.

‘ How’s Sarah?”, he got surprised hearing the question and realized that it was me.

We talked for sometime but it ended when we had to take different routes home.

When I reached the subdivision, I noticed something was wrong.

“OH MY GOD!’ I exclaimed when I saw the streets overturned. One thing’s in my mind. Tsunami! It’s the end.

People were running around me. They were all in panic. At thatgreen moon moment, all I think about is my family. Were they able to survive?

I rushed to my house, running towards the squirm of people in different directions.

When I’m about to reach the corner, I saw fire across the road. It burned the cemented road. I looked out and tried to find what caused the fire.

I saw people ducking. They seem to be looking above.

I saw a familiar but scary sight. It’s like the one written in the books. The revelation is true.

I didn’t know it would actually come to this. The end of mankind is indeed happening.

What I saw   above the dark skies is the moon with a golden streak across it. It was terrifyingly beautiful. The streak was like that of Saturn.

I was very frightened!
I noticed that the streak changes it’s length. It gets longer when it’s ready to strike an attack.

The fear was inexplainable. I couldn’t bear the sight of people running to God knows where, just to save their lives. Tears running down my cheeks. I thought of my family.

My mobile phone rang. It was my sister. Her voice was calm.

” Are you still in the house? What are you doing? You got to go out of there. We got to move somewhere far! Out of there now!”

Just then, somebody running towards me collapse. He was hit. I looked up. It was the moon. It turned green. They call it ‘The Crazy Moon”.

Like in a computer game, it releases out something, different in every hit.

Gas fumes everywhere, the people are still in panic. I witnessed a lot of people getting hit by the moon. They all collapsed in front of me. I found myself hiding behind the bush, trying to avoid the moon hovering above the street.

Then I saw familiar faces. I saw my brother. They were standing in front of the store, I mentioned earlier when I was talking to them on the phone. I told them to meet me there. I ran towards them and grabbed my father’s hand.

I told them to run as fast as they could and duck when they see the moon.

Then the green moon was right above us. It was small, the size of a basketball.  It seemed to purposely hit our family. I was going crazy, I had to think of a better solution, then it released something.

Somebody was surely hit.

It was too late. It was my dad. He was hit at the back of his neck.

It was some kind of round green liquid. It melted and released gas. My dad was chocking. He passed out. I was furious. I was scared. I wanted to die there and then. What should I do to save him?

I screamed! ” Water! Give me water”!

The neighbor was fast enough to offer water.  In no second, I poured it right to where the wound is.

Dad? DAD?! DAD wake up!!!!

Cough. Cough.

He was fine!

We continued running.

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