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May 1st 2008
Published: May 5th 2008
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Người Trồng Trọt Linh Hồn-Soul Cultivation



The vile sleeper bus dumped us off somewhere just out side the city of Hanoi, I hobbled around trying to find a toilet as my bladder didn't quiet know what to do with itself, did it need to piddle, to burst, to bleed as it burned like fire as I had to hold it in for a mind numbing 10 hours thanks to the electric bus doors jamming. We found Hanoi's old quarter by the means of a very rude and greedy taxi man, who held us to ransom for a tidy sum of $10 (150,000 dong) just for the privilege of getting me to a loo in time. By this point my spirits and energy were at an all time low, I realised I had to find some other form of healing or I was doomed.

I needed a real life Angel, I found one. He came in the shape of a man with huge visionary white wings of faith, this man is special too me for three reasons.

1. While I was busy being born in 1967, he was here in Vietnam flying helicopters and representing the good old United States of America as best he could. Within his first six months in combat he got shot in the leg by a machine gun that blew through the bottom of his helicopter while in mid flight, with a through and through ballistic hole in this leg he still made it safe to dry land and was shortly ordered home. He has spent a huge amount of his time back in Vietnam and has helped local people achieve the most extra ordinary things that they may never have even dreamt of doing if they had not met him. Luckily for me he was here, this time he was busy learning the Viet language.
2. He is a fellow travel blogger on this very same site and a damn fine blogger he is too. I
3. Kent Converse is his name and he told me all about to The Doctor of Pin, he handed me a torn bit of scrap paper with a scribble of a number on it, it linked me too a sweet faced Vietnamese acupuncturist with deadly yet healing hands, he also came with even deadlier acupuncture needles.

THE DOCTOR OF PINS & NEEDLES

I was knackered
Grieving Ladies in Red.Grieving Ladies in Red.Grieving Ladies in Red.

Den Tring Temple
and I could not see a way out of this endless cycle of tiredness. I had surface rested in Hoi An for a few days but continued to travel with a terrible cough on to sight see in Hue, followed by that hideous 20 hours of torture on the sleeper bus, I was back to square one. Kent Converse told me all about an local acupuncturist which fitted in with what Dr. Kildare from Hoi An ordered me to find him!
The great Dr of Pins & Needles came to my hotel at mid day, every day for five days. He spoke no English, the hotel translated, lucky I didn't have some embarrassing problem, as receptionists gossip with the whole of the city. He understood much about energy restoration and he knew exactly what to do and got to work by beating me within an inch of my life. He used a massage technique which is the manipulative Chinese art of Tui Na. His hands were on fire as he manipulated my skin, muscle, bones and gradually freed up my stagnant blood and over all Chi energy. He rubbed, pushed, pulled, kneaded, dug, scraped, punctured all over my body. A Tui Na practitioner works with certain principles, my Yin & Yang energy, which has slightly leaned towards yangness for most of my life, was I too hot meaning did I have fire in my blood (too much Yin) or cold & damp too much Yang? Was the problem internal or superficial? Am I flowing freely & alive or deficient & lacking in some areas? Tui Na works best along side acupuncture as it helps to open up the defensive Whi Chi energy points in the muscles and meridians, this method works well with many (non) and musculoskeletal conditions.

Day One was pure hell, Dr. Pins stabbed me all over with these needles, he was harsh in his application, he said 'OK?' once and laughed a lot to himself, so I tried to laugh with him, but failed. He attached a vibrating probe to the individual pins which vibrated and throbbed throughout my entire body, every muscle that was stabbed, twitched like fresh road kill for an hour after, this routine lasted 35 minutes and the Tui Na 25 minutes. Dr. Pin works with tourists in his lunch hour from his regular practice just out of the city centre, he
Happy man In HanoiHappy man In HanoiHappy man In Hanoi

Sitting outside the stuffed reindeer shop.
comes to your hotel which suited me fine as I was drained when he left.
Day Two - Same same, but different. I felt a shift of energy down wards, when he left I slept all day.
Day Three - Same same but the same. He stabbed me in the same areas which made me scream out as it was still sore from the previous stabbings. Stu actually witnessed this one day, as he took pictures he winced at the pain I was in and the brute force Dr. Pins was using.
Day Four - I didn't want any more pain, "No more pain, No more pain...go away...." My pleas fell on non English speaking ears. Although I was feeling a bit more alert, but he really went for it, he pulled and pushed my skin and muscles in to a slither of palatable wiener schnitzel. The needles hurt when he stabbed my right kidney area which may have defused my earlier bladder dilemma, but it made me bite hard into the pillow and yelp like an abused puppy.
Day Five Hugs and Kisses all round. I felt alive again, the heavens opened (heart chakra) and the rains came (tears), pressure released all round.


THE PERFUME PAGODA

70 km south west of Hanoi there are many amazing and beautiful pagodas in the perfume mountains area of Huong Son. It just smelt of pure fresh air, which is what we all would pay small fortunes to bottle up and breathe in. This is the place of great romance, many couples come here to meet for a romantic time, to kiss for the first time, to propose and to read poetry to each other which is normally about the place they are romancing in, as many poets, novelists and artists have used this site as inspiration. It takes an hour to get to the main area of the pagodas by rowing boats. On this trip you see many interesting others riding along side on other boats. Monks pointing out interesting wildlife to kids, tour groups who have three row boats with 20 people in each boat all held together by string, and not forgetting the great variety of sun hat that is on show.

The main pagoda is a distance away, the air was again hot, I felt like I was suffocating inside a plastic bag that was luckily full of fresh ferns, so I took the cable car up to the Huong Tich Grotto and entered by the 120 steps of heaven going in to the grotto and continued further down to the steps of hell that lead to the pit of this amazing granite cave. Inside there were many devotees all with great big trays on their heads loaded with fruits and fake money, offerings to their Gods of choice. The many stalagmites and stalactites all represent some God or Goddess. For example Nui Co means The Maiden, her clumpy rock formation draws in the childless couples who raise their hands up to the skies and rub the very smooth stone with fake money to encourage fruitful fertility and pregnancy. Then they move over to the Nui Cau The God of Youth, to ensure the first born grows up strong, clever and healthy. What ever your desire there is a rock to cover all possibilities and wishes.

We visited Den Tring temple, where there were many females kneeling and praying, the most interesting part for me were the ladies who had red scarves draped over their heads and faces, balancing on their heads they had a huge silver plate of fruits, sweet foods, incense, and fake money to offer their recently departed dead. Behind each red lady was a SEER of the dead, a medium, who told the ladies where the spirit of their dead relatives or ancestors had ended up, as they all seem to be pre occupied with the onward journey after death to either heaven or hades. The seers were talking in hushed tones, the red ladies were wailing like banshees, it was upsetting to hear the pitches of grief they screamed out, were they being told their relatives were happy in heaven, or were they dancing around the fires of hell? It was that certain pitch of wailing that didn't really define which. Regardless I wanted to give them a hug, but after the ceremony the Seers did give the red ladies a hug which was nice to see.

Hanoi brought everything back to life. For me it was a 'Fix It' place as both our laptops were fixed, I got a new camera, my body feels vibrant and ready to go.


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This was not a 3D pub!


7th May 2008

Britany Spears
I have that exact same picture, the mind boggles haha!
1st June 2008

Hello from the Good Old USA
Dear Claire, How are you and where are you? I miss you two very much. I have been back a month and already I want to go back to Vietnam. So much more to do. I read this blog again. You are such a great blog writer. The best ever. Keep writing please. Come to Kansas please. The land of Oz. You won't regret it. Love, Kent

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