Tuesday, January 10, 2017

marble mountain adventures

We took one day in Vietnam to be 'adventurous' and climbed marble mountain.  It's not much of  climb since there's an elevator- but there are lots of caves to explore and stairs to walk.  Here in Hoi An it's relatively flat except for cluster of small 'mountains' that are more like mounds.

it's pretty much little kid paradise with all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore.
and, of course, shrines of every type.
this cave was ginormous.   and there was a giant buddha in the upper corner along with several small shrines. just look how teeny Zeb is!  I ran into some russians in this cave and I tried eavesdropping a bit so I could jump into the convo. There are russians all over Asia.   I forget that eastern russia is part of Asia.  vladivostok is not too far away from us!
this is probably my favorite buddha in all of Asia.  I love when he's happy and perfectly plump.   The idea of 'happy buddha' is wonderful to me.  Always smiling and optimistic.
I loved the framing and set up of this picture.  we were actually incredibly lucky to explore all of the areas of marble mountain just before a huge bus loads of koreans arrived!  just a few minutes later- everywhere we went- my pictures would have been full of koreans!!
this is the best picture of the day.  Just looking at it reminds me how scorching this day was.  We were SO hot and mack was SO over it. 
 This part of Vietnam felt very non Asian to me!  I have recently learned, however, that Vietnam was colonized by the french for a long period of time and maybe that's why these areas felt so different.  My knowledge of Asian history (and geography for that matter!!) is embarrassingly slim and I am trying to remedy the situation little by little but there is SO MUCH of it.

Isn't Vietnam awesome?!  Vietnam is one place FOR SURE  I plan on returning with Kent.  We didn't even get to see Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi and I would really love to.

this place is called marble mountain because they excavate the marble (or did for years) out of these mountainsides and use it for carving and statues.
I love her smile. and those chubby little cheeks.
I'm not sure who buys these giant statues at these shops.  they would be impossible to get home.

One of the last caves we explored was SUPER creepy.  It was the 'entrance to hell' cave and lived up to it's name!!  most of it was really neat- but some was really creepy.
Kent is such a great dad for carrying these sleeping sweaty children over the world while I snap photos and run ahead.
I have NEVER seen sunbeams this bright and intense before.  It was awesome.
look at this light!!!!
this is the stairway that led to the light entering the cave.

there were all sorts of tunnels and side paths to explore that were full of really weird and yucky statues.  Here's a lady getting sawed in half.
the main shrine was lit up with neon flashing lights and felt anything but reverent or respectful!
After climbing marble mountain we set off to explore the neighborhoods surrounding the area.  Everything was so colorful and bright. It made for some really amazing photos.  

we found this little temple where the kids ran in and did some worship.  They are all so used to temples that they know exactly what to do where ever we go!!
I loved the yellows and oranges against the perfectly blue skies.

After wanderomg the streets of marble mountain- we took off for Lady Buddha on the other side of town.  We drove up winding roads and made it to the top of the entire city of Hoi An/Da Nang.  
We found the largest Buddha I've seen to date.  and that's saying quite a bit considering how many buddhas we've seen! 
there is no way to accurately portray the size of this lady.  she was a giant.
and check out this little chinese kid.  he made my day. His selfie skills are on point.  Also- can I tell you how proud I am of myself for learning to distinguish between people from different countries around Asia?!  I usually need to hear them speak- but we have gotten really good at recognizing languages and cultural differences.
and my other favorite buddha.  I loved this one so much I bought a wood statue of him. 

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