Day 3 in Hanoi was probably the most challenging trip for me (and the most worrisome one). A day before I flew to Hanoi, I had a random hyperventilation attack which entitled a visit the hospital. Since I was on holiday in December, I was pretty stress-free. Hence, it was unlikely that the attack was induced by stress. The doctor also commented that the attack happens more commonly to females and as of now, they have no idea what the possible trigger for the attack could be. And it is with this fear that I would experience a sudden hyper-ventilatory attack, that I attempted to conquer the steps to the pagoda.
The day begun with a short rainfall which occurred intermittently till late evening. Our guide for the day, phượng (it means phoenix and I had to google translate it from English to learn the spelling in Vietnamese) led us to the Yen River. The ride, which took about an hour or so, was supposedly supposed to be romantic and I can sort of see why. But when it was drizzling and our seats had puddles of water on it … wet butts, not so romantic anymore. Lol.
After “docking” our little sampan boat, we headed up the slippery slope to Thien Cung, which means Heavenly Kitchen. We entered through the South gate (pictured below), which had Chinese characters decorated along its walls. According to our guide, the language Vietnamese originated from Chinese as the people of Vietnam tried to make sense of these characters and over time, it evolved into the current Vietnamese we know today. Pretty cool huh? It also explains why I could understand certain Vietnamese words since its pronunciation bears a close resemblance to its Chinese counterpart.
Within the beautiful temple compound, despite the slight drizzle, the air was fresh (compared to the city) and it felt good when I took a deep breath. The hills which surrounded the temple also created a serene backdrop which added to the calmness in the area.
Here’s a funny frontal angle of a stone tortoise
After the temple visit, we had lunch before we tackled the steps to the perfume pagoda. You can tell from the massive lack of pictures along the way to the pagoda that I was simply trying to survive the climb. The roads appeared to be a mix of gravel (?) and rocks that had a smooth marble texture and finishing. It was slippery (I almost fell a couple of times), the steps became much higher nearer to the pagoda and for someone of my stature, I was practically doing 90 degree leg raise the whole time. Plus, I’m not the fittest person around. But anyway, I managed to make it to the cave and here’s a picture of its iconic entrance, which supposedly resembled the mouth of a dragon.
Just before I exited the cave, I thought the light filtering in made for a nice shot.
On the way back, we spotted a few men whacking the water with a pole. Apparently, it’s their attempt at fishing. But I don’t get how the fishes will appear. Won’t the fishes swim away if they felt this kind of disturbance to their home? #sobefuddled.
And here’s a selfie act caught in action, lol. Seriously, the boat is pretty unstable and we’re all not wearing life jackets. But then again, yolo!
And dinner for the day was bbq pork with noodles (it was super good and I highly recommend it)
and a vegetable, noodle rice roll. The roll was pretty plain by itself, but kind of refreshing at the same time because of the crunchiness of the vegetables and the mint leaves. Till the next time, bye!