In Vietnam, Christine and I are HUGE. Of course, I don't mean in terms of international celebrity status (although, we are quite well-known in Can Tho, thank you very much!) I am referring here to actual, physical presence. We're bigger than all of the women, as well as the majority of all of the men. We are constantly gawked and giggled at because of our awkward American clumsiness, and no matter how hard of an effort we put into motion to reverse the stares and the sneers, we never succeed. We are forever the elephant in the room, a fact that we've reluctantly come to accept.
But in Ha Long Bay, I was once more able to blend in. I felt, amongst hundreds of other astonished-looking Western tourists, small again, because that's exactly what this kind of magnificent natural masterpiece of Mother Nature can do to a person: make you feel very, very small.
You see, I've stood admist the crumbling walls of the Colosseum, looked down below to the unveiled mazes where gladiators used to anxiously pace back and forth, no doubt contemplating the ugly fate that lay ahead of them; I've peered over the tippy top of the Eiffel Tower, observing the people below who crawled like ants, wind blowing hard against my face on a freezing cold March afternoon; I've even studied in one of the oldest universities of Europe in Salamanca, Spain, lunching almost every afternoon in one of The Continent's most decadent plazas, and never ceasing to be amazed by its beauty. But Ha Long Bay is an altogether different experience. It is a phenomena that can not explained by construction of Man, because it simply isn't. It is a work of the Divine, and I was dumbfounded amongst its presence. When something so beautiful lays before you, there is nothing you can do but breathe it in, and enjoy every moment of its beauty.
And that is simply all there is to say.