Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cham Village and Sam Mountain Cave Pagoda

January 6 dawned gray and cloudy. We were up early for another excursion by boat. This time we paid a short visit to a fish farm where five different kinds of fish are raised. We cruised a bit farther and climbed this very slippery walkway to take a stroll through a small Cham village. 

The streets were hardly wide enough to accommodate two people abreast and a moto, so we kept a sharp eye on the traffic.  There was plenty of activity in the village, though,

and at the local visitor center, we were able to watch this Muslim woman working at her loom.

Upon our return, John and I took a short bus ride to the Sam Mountain Cave Pagoda.  The entrance is reached by a long 186 steps which lead from street level to the first level of the pagoda. 
This section has been completed only recently and looks much like the inside of other pagodas we have seen.  
Behind the newer section, however, lies the original cave pagoda, guarded by these serpents. 
The mountain has been hollowed out and a number of alcoves contain shrines like this one.  The inside stairs are steep, narrow and dark.  At times we were literally feeling our way along the walls, so it was a real adventure.

Outside, beautiful gardens with statuary and a pond provide a restful place to view the surrounding fields. On this day, the monks were busy working on the landscaping, including grubbing out and moving clumps of bamboo that had overgrown their habitat.

We returned to our hotel and boarded a bus for a hair-raising ride to our next stop, the town of Can Tho.  Our driver had one hand on the steering wheel and one hand on the horn as he barreled along the very bumpy road, scattering motos and autos as he went.  We were amazed that we arrived without a crash.  The bus was traveling too fast and the road was too bumpy for many photos.  However I did manage to get this quick shot of one of the many duck farms along the road. 

Once in Can Tho, the bus deposited us at the end of this narrow alley lined with stalls selling used auto and moto parts, industrial electrical supplies and other greasy and gritty things.  It was too narrow for anything but a moto, so we trooped down the alleyway through the puddles trailing our bags.  We couldn't believe we were in the right place, but unfortunately it was true.  Our second Vietnamese hotel was only slightly better than the first. 

Here is the view from the front door of the hotel. 

We did, however, find another great restaurant a few blocks away.  Glory of New York Spa-Cafe had good food, decent wine, good prices and was a lovely, quiet place to unwind from our bus ride.

1 comment:

  1. What's the weather like and are you near sea level or much higher?