Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Muong Village, Ha Long Bay and ISP begins tomorrow!

Ha Long Bay in the evening
Our group's ship
Me with my Ao Dai and Co Thanh, our academic director
Some of the group in Ha Long Bay
Down the Muong road on my birthday
Muong Home

Where do I begin? To think that tomorrow ISP begins is mind blowing! Last Wednesday my group and I went to Cuc Phuong National park. I didn't see the park but I still got some beautiful pictures that gave me an idea of what I missed thanks to my friend Quan. After that we went to a Muong village. Some info on them:

They are most closely related to the ethnic Vietnamese. While the Muong are believed to be related to the Vietnamese, some ethnologists theorize the Muong remained in the mountains and developed independently while the Vietnamese moved to the low country and became influenced by Chinese culture resulting from the 111 BC invasion by Chinese Han Emperor Wu Ti. The Muong and the Tai have had a mutual influence on each other’s culture. So, today the Muong are ethnically close to the Vietnamese, but culturally and socially similar to the Tai.

We stayed the night at the Muong Village and had some "cultural exchange". We danced, we ate, and sang both Vietnamese and American songs. It was a very nice experience. However, I was sad because that day was the 3rd- my birthday and I couldn't get any signal. Therefore, my parents and the rest of my family members were unable to contact me. Yet things got better and quickly! After this we went to Ha Long bay which is being nominated as one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. It was truly breathtaking and just so surreal. Sleeping on the ship was such a welcomed change. We all got to relax and to take things in for once. Our program is pretty intense because have a lot of readings and work but we also travel often (it is so exhausting). On April 5 (our first out of 2 day and one night stay) we had a party that night to celebrate 3 girls birthdays ( I was one of them). This moment will forever be in my memory. I think I bonded even more (if it is possible) with some of my classmates which I had become fairly close to (such as Jo, Wen, Von and Hai Minh).

Today is the last day for five of us in Hanoi. Since our ISP period begins tomorrow, five of us are off to our respective ISP sites. There are some others that won't be conducting their research in Hanoi but they decided to stay in Ha Noi a little longer (for various reasons). The only people going to Can Tho are Jenny C. and I. Tomorrow we fly back to HCMC in the morning but the following day we will take a 4 1/2 to 5 hour bus ride to Can Tho City. Jenny is doing something with shrimp/rice farming I believe, while I am looking at sustainable tourism from a Vietnamese perspective during the initiative known as "National tourism year 2008".

*I may post my proposal later on in the week.
Posted are pictures of the Moung Village and Ha Long Bay.

No comments: