Culture Culture

05/08/2017 - 10:14

Living slow in Hue

Some people expressed their regrets; if only some rich people like Mr. Lam, Mr. Vuong, invest a lot of money, surely Bach Ma will be crowded and turned into a machine printing money like Ba Na, Fansipan ...

On the way to the Five Lakes. Photo: VDN

Living slow 1

A deep sleep is a rarity among those aged over sixty. It took me quite some time to remember where I was. Probably it was because of the drinks from the night before. Our flight arrived late at night but the car was already waiting. It brought us directly to Hue Ecologe, a resort in Thuy Bieu. The car ran on the road along the Perfume River, lush with foliage. Despite knowing the destination, I still had a slight feeling of being on the Truong Son road once more. It was not until the moment the resort gate opened that I realised where I was. The sloping brick road was reminiscent of a northern village running amidst an orchard. I had heard that they were thanh tra grapefruits, a precious gem of Hue. Through the golden light shining from the hidden lampposts along the road, the clusters of thanh tra fruits looked fat and rounded, promising a juicy, sweet season. Although I had known that I would have to get up early the next day, I could not stop having another drink with my lovely colleagues who I had not seen for ages. The room had no TV, no wifi... It was an absolute silence. There was a rooster crowing somewhere early at dawn. Before saying goodbye the night before, the landlord advised me to wake up early and take a morning stroll in this quiet countryside. The resort was still fast asleep. No one had passed through the path between the thanh tra garden. Spider webs got caught lightly on my hair and cheeks. The big road led to the banks of the Perfume River. The river was still asleep. Far away, in the morning daylight, a small boat was going downstream.

That morning, the Perfume River seemed to have drifted slowly. Our boat floated lazily on the river, just slow enough for its guests to watch the water wharf, the vegetable gardens on the bank, the sweet gourds and their flowering yellow blossoms... Passing through Thien Mu pagoda, a colleague from Hue told everyone on the boat the story of the "love resentment" curse attached to the ancient Thien Mu pagoda. An example story of an unfinished love of a colleague hit quite close to the heart...

Living slow 2

The best part of the trip was the sacred Bach Ma (White Horse) Mountain. When the car had just started climbing up the slope for a while, I asked the driver to lower the windows, turn off the air conditioning so we could all enjoy the wind. It started getting cooler like Sapa, Tam Dao, Ba Na... This 1,400-meter-high pristine forest remained safe from much interference of human hands. Phong Lan villas, the most comfortable stop of Bach Ma only had 7 rooms. There was no television, wifi, and not even mobile signal. Electricity depended on the generator, running from 5 pm to 11 pm, and for about an hour in the morning. Mobile signal was intermittent and went off completely at night.This was the ideal place for a slow pace of life, for close friends to spend time together.

And we, colleagues from all over the country, spent 24 hours like that. 

We hiked through the forest along the path to the Five Lakes, soaked our feet in the cool, foaming stream, watched the Do Quyen waterfall, and shared with each other a cigarette and a sip of beer right on the stone embankment along the path.At the camp fire, we baked sweet potatoes, roasted corn and sang jubilantly. Late in the still night, we quietly passed around glasses of wine on the balcony with the night dew. And all to wake up in the early morning, listening to the singing birds, watching the sunrise on the Observatory Tower... It wasn't that nobody was affected by the lack of facilities, but most embraced the opportunity to live close to nature, to temporarily leave their worries, their work behind. Some even found the opportunity to find themselves... 

Do Quyen waterfall. Photo: TH

Some people expressed their regrets; if only some rich people like Mr. Lam, Mr. Vuong, invest a lot of money, surely Bach Ma will be crowded and turned into a machine printing money like Ba Na, Fansipan... Me, I'm a bit conservative, I just hope that Bach Ma can continue to be like this, with the cottages that only meet minimum comfort.So, in a few more decades, visitors like us could still enjoy a full morning sun of sunshine on the sacred mountain of Bach Ma, looking beyond to the Tam Giang lagoon - Cau Hai area that glisten through the soft white reeds fluttering in the wind.

There are many ways to fascinate tourists.There are guests who are willing to spend an even more money for a night at a 5-6 star resort to spend a night out on the top of the wilderness with this unique scene ...This has been proven in many famous tourist areas in the world... Suddenly, I remembered an article entitled "Choosing the sunset or Dubai", in the World Security newspaper.No one denies the attractiveness of Ba Na today with its colorful, modern creations.But let the wild Bach Ma exist along the bustling Ba Na, so that Vietnamese tourists as well as the world have a choice.Imagine, if all the majestic mountains can be conquered by cable cars and if the simplicity of the woods are replaced by well-trimmed European-styled gardens, how boring and redundant will it all be?

Ta Viet Anh