Feet were stomping over my head, and I was not happy. As a teacher I can’t seem to sleep past 6:30 AM during the school year (whether I’m on vacation or not), so I knew the heavy steps were moving around even before that hour.
Yanking my curtain open, I was ready to grumble at the world and my empty cabin.
But then, I had a view like this:
My anger dissipated like fog beneath a hot sun. Nature humbled me and left me silent. The meditative state washing over me was similar to how I felt when visiting beaches in Venezuela.
How could I be upset? I was on a junk boat in the middle of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Limestone structures stretched out of the water and left me feeling awed. A cool breeze hugged me the minute I stepped foot on the top deck and lounge chairs beckoned for me to splay out and relax.
I did. Well, at least I tried to. To be honest, I was battling a cold the entire time I was in Hanoi. My body is now weak to the “cold,” as in anything that has the nerve to dip to 65 °F. I was wearing a jacket and using a sweatshirt as a scarf to protect my throat. I couldn’t help but marvel…how can this be my body’s reaction when I lived in New York City for five years? But, it is what it is.
With Legacy Cruises, there was a boat ride that led to the loudest silence I’d ever experienced in my life (I booked through my hotel for a cheaper price). Oars slid into water that supported floating houses. Waves lapped quietly at the structures as if they too were afraid to make noise in nature’s sacred space, and then there was Surprising Cave (Hang Sửng Sốt). Beautifully lit, it was a wonderful way to end my two days and one night in Ha Long Bay. In short, it was a respite from life’s busyness.
As the junk boat chugged back towards shore, I sipped hot honey tea and wrote in my journal. The limestones flowed past me and for some reason I felt like I was in an orchestra, a symphony. The entire experience just seemed like nature had crafted a work of art.
In the end, I was glad to be there for the show.