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Area 6 : News & Views


The longest journey starts with a single step .....................................................ancient Chinese proverb

Kathryn Watts reporting worldwide.


There is a deep-rooted yearning in many travellers to find a place where they feel that they have no significance to the rest of the world. A place which leaves a deep down feeling of happiness and content. Such a simple feeling, yet one that is rarely experienced fully in everyday life.

It was whilst travelling around Vietnam on a motorbike that we met a Vietnamese man in one of the isolated villages, trying to sell us a trip to a place that he called "Cana Beach". A place which he told us was as yet quite undiscovered by tourists and travellers. After having spent a hectic few weeks exploring the country's culture and its people, walking in the highlands and spending a night in a minority village, we decided to check it out for ourselves. We knew nothing of this place, had not heard it mentioned by anyone we had met, and therefore did not even know if it existed. Yet intrigued by the mere thought of its existence we set off on our adventure.

Our journey was psychologically-trying and not an easy one, although our triumph I can ensure you was real. It was when we were returning to a town where we could spend the night, that it all began. Our motorbike by this time had felt the toll of many journeys, it was slow and sounded exhausted. The so-called motorway was nothing but a dirt track road and as usual a free for all. Lorries and cars would approach each other head on, moving to avoid a collision at the last minute. The rain was pelting down on our faces, the mud from the other vehicles and the flies flicking in our eyes. Lorries would come up fast within inches of our bike, forcing us down onto the gravel and into the potholes at the side of the road. It was like something in a Chevy Chase movie minus the goggles!

Driving past a small café, a sign saying something that resembled the words "Hot Chocolate" caught our attention. Just what was needed to lift our spirits. Yet having ordered it we were faced with yet another concoction of noodles and rice!

Having reached the closest town for the night to our destination, we were pulled over by a couple of young policemen seemingly on an authoritative power trip. They said that our lights had not been on, and aggressively demanded money from us. I cannot think of a time when I have felt so intimidated. When we refused to give them money, they asked us to come to the police station with them. Lack of trust towards them and the thought of spending the night in a Vietnamese jail started a haggling session - however we were losers right from the beginning.

Before settling down for the night after our testing journey, to build up our spirits with the thoughts of what would await us the next day, we decided to buy a few snacks. Unfortunately, as we were pulling away from the shop the snacks flew out of my hands and landed on the road amongst the traffic. A Vietnamese man was instantly upon them, dodging the traffic and sliding a pack into his pocket. A woman who had witnessed this went after the man, shouting, and somehow managed to retrieve the rest of the goods minus the packet that was, by now, out of sight. The biscuits were however completely crushed with wheel marks over the bag. We nevertheless thanked the woman politely - it seemed she had thought that there was something a bit more valuable inside. We pulled off on the motorbike with the woman demanding we give her something, slapping and chasing us on our way. Of course we made a quick getaway - we had lost enough for one night!

We set off the next morning, the new day bringing with it new hope. The journey was long on a bike that had little life left in it, and some of the roads treacherous. Yet as we covered the final stretch I realised that the journey had not been in vain, whatever we were to find. The sun was beaming down on us, the wind in our faces, and that feeling of pure happiness was building up inside of us.

We pulled up by a building and then discovered the haven we had been so yearning for. The clean white sand stretched for miles, completely deserted, in front of a transparent blue sea. There were palm trees, small shelters made of wood and plants, and the bungalow that we were to stay in was right there, metres away from the sea, and cost us a mere Ł9.

That evening we sat at a table beside the sea, soaking in the solitude and peacefulness of the place, drinking wine and eating the delicate speciality fish caught by the boats that were within sight in the small harbour. That night I realised that I had never appreciated something so natural and immaterial quite like this. I have never been a beach lover, but the whole atmosphere of the place soothed my soul into believing that there was another side to life that I had not up to that point discovered.

That night we lay listening to the waves lap against the bungalow, the sound of the sea hypnotising us into believing that we were in a different world. We did not sleep, as we wanted to make sure that we did not miss the first signs of dawn breaking. We talked and dreamed of other paradises that were waiting to be discovered.

The new day brought with it a new triumph in the sky. The beauty of the colours alone seemed to express exactly how we felt, and we knew that nothing connected with this place could ever be disappointing. This was one place that for the rest of the time in Vietnam and China we could not bring ourselves to share with any other travellers that we met. The memories are rooted deep within us. This was, and remains, our own hideaway and discovery.

............................... Kathryn Watts

Roving Reporter - Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 return to Latest Site News

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This is Area 6 - News - Roving Reporter - Kathryn Watts -
at Project HappyChild - linking children all across the world

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Your support is always welcomed for the Children's Charities in the Project HappyChild Directory - just click here for details of 80+ organizations.

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