Ba Na Hills

Today is my last full day in Vietnam. It’s been two weeks of:
– dentist appointments
– sweating my ass off (seriously, it’s 7.30pm and still 38degrees outside)
– doing odd spots of fitness every day so as to TRY and maintain some sort of routine in this humidity
– playing charades with the locals (communication breakdown – it can be difficult)
– adventuring
– watching Anna Akana videos as my night time wind down
– meeting the locals, and getting among the Couch Surfing crowd (even though I haven’t been couch surfing… I admit it, I’m a cop out here. Looking forward to doing it in America though!)
– experimenting with different food and eating establishments
– getting frustrated because I don’t have anyone here to cuddle or have in depth conversation with – it’s amazing how much we can take for granted simple human contact (as in, physical contact – I know I’ve got human contact here)
– internal reflection: especially as I read The Happiness Project and contemplate on my life, and what exactly it is that I’m doing with it
– awe: this country is incredible
– catching up on about 5years worth of lost sleep because I’ve spent most of my adult life as a complete workaholic, and need to learn how to get some necessary balance in order!

Ok, it’s only been two weeks – but this is just the beginning! When I left NZ, people kept asking when I’d be back, and I honestly don’t know. I’ll be back when I’m good and ready, I guess. When I’ve done what I need to do. When I’ve figured out what the fuck that actually is.

But I digress.

I didn’t want to waste today, so I decided to go on one last adventure here in Da Nang, and visit Ba Na Hills – which my dentist HIGHLY recommended I visit, so yay! I’m not letting her down.

I woke up early(ish), did my 50 burpees (because yes), had an omelet and vegetables for breakfast (for which one of my best friends now refers to me as the Salad Smuggler. Yep. I’m not the only lame one here), and cruised down to meet my host for the day. I actually have NO idea what his name is (woops) but he works security at the Samsung store down the road, and fuck it. This world needs more trust, right? For the purposes of this story, I shall refer to him as Alfred. Here he is:
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And we were off…

20150523_094737 We parked the bike

20150523_095123 The rules were established

20150523_095305 I passed the height requirements (I know, surprising). Yay! I’m an adult!

20150523_095704 I celebrated this fact

20150523_100836 And we boarded the cable car. THIS was the view – well, part of it. The cable car ride went on for a LONG time because – believe it or not – Ba Na Hills is the highest cable ride in the world at 1291.81m high. The highest peak of Ba Na Hills is 1427m. That’s higher than the McKinnon Pass that I hiked earlier this year. Wow.

20150523_105406 This was one of the views at the top.

Ba Na Hills is a bit of crazy. It’s kind of like the Disney Land of Da Nang – except with only one ride (a luge type thing you could do). But the centre of Ba Na Hills was next level!

Originally, Da Nang was a quiet little fisherman village, but because it’s surrounded by mountains (such as Marble Mountains, Son Tra or “Monkey Mountain” and, of course, the Ba Na Hills) when the French invaded, the villagers had nowhere to go (sneaky French). Hence the colonization of Vietnam (and why so many Vietnamese speak French, and are still taught French history at school). Anyway, when the French arrived, apparently they decided they wanted to establish their own, richer area, so they climbed Ba Na Hills, and built their own township. Because of the existing vegetation, and environment on the hills, they were able to plant all kinds of new plants as well – opting mostly for bananas. As I’m told, when they first planted the bananas, however, local Vietnamese referred to bananas as “ba na”; hence Ba Na Hills.

Anyway, the original buildings are still there – albeit, some are getting renovated at the moment – but it’s something else…

20150523_104209 (See? Told you it looked like Disneyland)

20150523_104730 That’s just beautiful

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It looks like some looming fortress… 20150523_105512

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20150523_102508 And the gardens were pretty neat.

20150523_102639 (yes, thug life jandals)

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AND THE BUGS WERE HUGE!!!
20150523_111302 That’s a stair, by the way. That bug was a third of the height of a flipping STEP.

20150523_111355 Okay, that was a dead whatever-the-fuck-it-is, but still. It looks like some freaky deaky character from Pans Labrynth. IDKWTF.

There was a pretty rad butterfly that whizzed past at one point that – I swear – was the size of my fist. Wow.

Of course, the French didn’t completely take over Ba Na Hills. There were still some beautiful towers…
20150523_111655

20150523_111627

A massive bell
20150523_112453

And a gong!
20150523_112409

A whole bunch more Le Han (these are only some of them)
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20150523_111558

20150523_111632

20150523_111648

Epic dragon staircases…
20150523_113229

Lion statues…
20150523_111801 (which are – apparently – quite similar to the Maori carving of the Taniwha at entrances; in that they too are placed with the intention of warding off bad spirits).

A Buddha…
20150523_112031

…. and a Linh
20150523_090522

20150523_110533 But besides the history, architecture, and weddings…

20150523_105158 Ba Na Hills was a VERY commercialized part of Da Nang

With French dancers!
20150523_124638

And princesses!
20150523_113809

20150523_113750

And guardsmen!
20150523_114002

And human-sized talking animals!
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But I still had an amazing day, and made friends with a few monks πŸ˜‰
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Goodnight, Vietnam xxx

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