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January 26, 2004
|We reach the other side of South East Asia. By bus we came to Pacific shores at Halong Bay. The scenery looks like an artist's imagination; three thousand tiny islands rise abruptly from calm waters. Gnarled trees crown island hills, clifftops, and mist settles into the crowns. The name Ha Long means 'where the dragon descended into the sea.' Legend says a dragon created the bay and islands with its flailing tail.|
We hired a boat with other tourists and sailed around the dragon islands. Modern sailors claim to have seen a huge creature, called the Tarasque, swimming in the harbor and hiding amongst the island bays. A relative of the Loch Ness monster?
Floating villages nestle in waterways between islands.
Village life revolves around fishing. Dogs guard nets thrown in the front yard.
We spend the night aboard ship with a dog for crew. Our boat throws anchor in a deserted harbor and we watch out for the Tarasque.