The English center where I teach (Global English Center) goes on a trip at the beginning of the summer every year. This year they decided to go to Pu Mat National Park. My wife (Thuy) and I had never been there. The trip was just for one day and it was full of fun. We started the day by visiting the biggest waterfall I’ve seen in my life. Near the waterfall Thuy pointed out two large black butterflies with white spots on their wings. There was a cloud of very small butterflies around them. She told me it’s a butterfly family; mom, dad, and children.
Next was lunch. Everyone sat on a traditional Vietnamese table. It was raised high off the ground. Behind us was a beautiful bubbling stream. I love being in nature! Some of the teachers stayed up late the night before preparing food. There was a guy cooking mountain chicken in a 50 gallon drum (which was cut in half) on bamboo sticks. The mountain chicken was so good! Perhaps the best chicken I’ve eaten in Vietnam. The teachers made pork with an amazing sauce, gimbap, and tasty kimchi.
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After lunch we went to the river. There was a floating restaurant where we relaxed before our next adventure, the longboat ride (another first for me). Everyone got in the longboats and we took off down the river. Dotted along the riverbank were some houses-on-stilts but not many. It was thick jungle on either side of us. I felt like Indiana Jones. We met the rest of our group. They were splashing and swimming in the cool water. By the river bank they were building a house-on-stilts. Some kids were playing in the river too. There was a group of water buffalo all lying down. The scene was quite surreal with the mixture of man and nature. I spotted my first white water buffalo. After relaxing by the river for a while all of us went back to the bus. We had a 3 hour bus ride ahead of us but all of us were excited. Everyone was talking about the day. Pu Mat is an enchanting place and I hope to visit it again someday.