Sunday, December 21, 2008

Time And Space In Dream

What happens to time and space in dreams? For me, it seems youthfulness exists in dreaming because events occur that are not bound by physical law. All sorts of fantastic actions occur in dreams, and the occurrences are effortlessly woven together into a symphony of experience.
THE DREAM has provided me with a symphony of experiences that make me feel I have stepped beyond the ordinary into magic. Within a day of arriving in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, I found myself living on a Chinese junk, a flat-bottomed sail boat, with 10 other international travelers and five crew, touring Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The boat cruised very quietly and with hardly a stir over placid water in a bay among dense clusters of 1,969 limestone monolithic islands, each topped with thick jungle vegetation. The islands rise spectacularly from the ocean and several are hollow, with enormous caves that we explored. My sleeping cabin was all wood, and cozy, and meals were served on white linen with delicious food. I felt transported by the beauty of my surroundings. Then it was back to bustling Hanoi, which actually intimidated me with its liveliness. The streets are small and teem with life. Often, sidewalks are impassable because they are being repaired with new stone, or are crammed with parked motorbikes, or street vendors are cooking food and customers are sprawled about, sitting at stools and eating. Traffic is ceaseless and whirls by; mostly people on motorbikes, frequently tooting horns. Small shops, eateries and hotels of every description are crammed together wall-to-wall, and often someone is out front, begging passersby to come inside. I became lost several times and could not understand the Vietnamese street names. In the end, I bought some artwork and became an ingredient in the big bubbling-over pot that is Hanoi.

Next, I flew to Danang, mid-way on the eastern coast of Vietnam and then took a one-hour taxi ride to Hoi An, a well preserved and quaint town of about 80,000 inhabitants that is famous for custom manufactured clothing. Incredibly, over 500 tailor shops thrive here. I have never seen anything like it. I have had two suits and 7 shirts made. Shopkeepers take measurements one day, and the next day, your custom ordered clothing arrives. It is all expertly handled with a wide assortment fine materials to choose from. The prices are so low, and quality so good that everyone is smiling in the end. Hoi An is relaxed and scenic as well. I have strolled around for hours, photographing and making friends with locals. Yesterday, a friend and I went swimming at a marvelous beach in DaNang. Hardly anyone was there except for some surfers and a handful of locals selling small things along the shore. We visited Marble Mountain, where generations of sculptors have been making carvings from marble. The quality is excellent and again, I ended up buying artwork for investment and resale in the USA. My friend helped me get the best prices.
Tomorrow, I return to Saigon for three days, and then I am off to an international Baha’i conference in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.

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