Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay, A UN Heritage site, is a water and rock world of ghostly images.  It’s compiled of some 400 sq. miles of craggy rounded top rocks jutting out from the warm salt water in the perpetual haze that completely obscures everything more than three miles distant.  Each rock island is different, yet after two days of weaving through these huge unworldly rocks, they create a repetitive rhythm that is strangely relaxing.  The layered effect of progressively lighter gray outlines of rock islands in the distance creates an impression of a mountain range, even though you know the surface is 98% water.  The early November air is still soft and warm.  Our cabins in our private 8 cabin ship were unused but for naps and nights.  Just as well with an extended family of large rats running around in the ceiling above the bed.

Each meal was a surprise.  The staff cooked and delivered dish after dish in a seemingly endless procession of delights.  Each dish was decorated with veggies cut in the shape of flowers, carrot fishnet garnishes and patterns of thinly sliced cucumbers that created an air of awe and delight as each new dish arrived.  So taken were we that we begged for a garnish demonstration the last morning on the boat.  We were prepared to be shown what necessary gadgets to order to make these fabulous creations possible.  The chef brought with him two carrots, two cucumbers, a radish and a very small knife.  That’s all.  We should have known.  This is definitely not a gadget-based society, rather one based on skills of the hand and eye.


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Having journeyed to the Far East and Asia over 20 times in the past 20 years, I’ve been intrigued and inspired by the ingenuity, craftsmanship, balance and human spirit that have gone into the making of those works I have seen and collected.

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