I took the train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. The train looked old fashioned and were really slow. Most parts of the train tracks were one way and sometimes, you can even see mopeds going faster than you.
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After 2.5 hours, I arrived in Ninh Binh. The hostel is actually remade from a railway station. I only realized that after someone told me that. At the restaurant beside, I ended up listening to some girl’s story. She is originally from China, but ended up being adopted by her UK parents. It would be interesting to know more about it, (I am reading Steve Jobs’ bibliography and he is actually adopted as well) whether this fact planted some curious thoughts in her life.
Back in the hostel, I got to know a British easyJet pilot. Compared to the prejudice of pilots and their lifestyles, he is just totally different. Maybe it is not too fair to say that, but budget airlines apparently just offer mediocre salaries. He did his education right after high school and has being flying for a while now. He especially enjoys the flights over the Alps and apparently, there are also long distance flights to Egypt for easyJets. The schedules are tight for them of course. You fly to one place and the next day, you are flying back already. Now, he wants to obtain further qualifications for instructing and hence, would be only flying half of the time and teaching the other half. Good luck mate!
After, we (2 UK guys, 1 canadian, 1 polish girl and 1 australian girl – thanks to her who invited me) ended up playing games to guess other people’s mimicking of animals or actions (the part where you need to hold the phone on your forehead and flip up if you got it right is particularly funny), and of course, some more drinking games (King’s cup). In the end, me and the australian girl were taking the same night bus to Hue. She is a pre school teacher and quite the Yoga fan. She sort of wants to go to China because being able to speak Chinese is now a big thing in Australia, a big plus for her pre school ed job qualifications. Before the bus ride, we also ended up talking about some esoteric stuff my friend Oli mentioned to me (if you wish something good to happen, it will reflect in your expression and eventually it will). Her reasoning being that thinking about these things would in the end make you more attentive to these matters when you wander around. I have tried this quite yet (and while I am writing this in Phnom Penh, this place is just too touristic to do that) and I think Myanmar would be a great place to just wander around without any goals in mind.
Oh, and of course, I enjoyed riding a semi automatic bike in Ninh Binh for the first time and went to Tam Coc. Floating on the river is so chilling. Listening to the sound of rows touching the water is just so satisfying. The boat also went through 3 caves and the sound effect there is also mesmerizing.
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The other pagoda spot is really just created for tourists. In the giant fenced off area, you would need to pay for the entrance and for the electric car to bring you 2km into the temple.
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Me, just signed my new contract for the 1st of August – meaning that there is actually an end to the travelling … not sure how to feel about that, but 6 months is a good number!