“Dragons were hidden, only stones still remain
On the moonlight nights, stones meditate as men do…”
Che Lan Vien
Ha long is where junks are like butterflies and cliffs are flakes of dragoon. It’s the Red River delta and according to the legend when the Vietnamese were fighting Chinese invaders, the gods sent a family of dragons to help defend the land. This family of dragons began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders.
The people kept their land safe and formed what later became the country of Vietnam. After that, dragons were interested in peaceful sightseeing of the earth, and then decided to live here. The place where the mother dragon descended was named Hạ Long, the place where the dragon’s children attended upon their mother was called Bái Tử Long island (Bái: attend upon, Tử: children, Long: dragon), and the place where the dragon’s children wriggled their tails violently was called Bạch Long Vỹ island (Bạch: white- colour of the foam made when Dragon’s children wriggled, Long: dragon, Vỹ: tail).
Wandering around the bay, passing throught grottos and inlets I saw floating villages of people living there, and it’s crazy to think that they steadily live on the sea, just fishing or selling something to tourists. What really impressed me, because of my love for pearls and shells, was the Museum of Pearls. Setted on a pile dwelling, it’s one of the most incredible museum I’ve ever seen. Reachable only by the sea, it displays all the different phases of the process of pearl cultivation. Everything was made of shells or mother of pearl and you could find pearl earrings for 15$!
people living in pile dwellings along the cliffs
The museum of pearls
a woman selling wonderful big shells, I made her rich! (pic by martina)
inside the Grotto of Wonders
bats hanging from the ceiling