Monday, January 3, 2011

Hang Son Doong, the infinite cave

I’ve never been to Vietnam, unless you consider the Hanoi airport to be part of the country, which I don’t and neither should you. But I’ve heard terrific and magical things of the country, and on balmy summer evenings I still close my eyes and pretend I’m strolling along the dusty and cicada screaming roads of Thailand or Cambodia. Yeah yeah, I know they’re all different countries, but if you’ve been to either or all, you know it’s a fair comparison. And though I’ve never been hotter and dirtier than I was in that part of the world, my heart still aches if I reminisce long enough.

And now, at a time when my feet couldn’t be any itchier for international travel and exploration, I happen across this article about the scarcely explored Hang Son Doong: A cave system near the Vietnam Laos border that, in places, is so large it could house an entire New York City block of 40-story buildings. Certain passages are so wide and high that they have their own clouds. Clouds. In a cave. And the cave has its own jungle. It’s the Disney Land of caves.

Sitting behind my desk, sipping from a can of spicy hot V8 juice, I shake my head in awe at this ragtag team of spelunkers. Lucky ducks. Why not me, I ask myself. And I’m forced to answer myself with a question of my own: Right, exactly, why not you? Why not you?

But that’s another day of internal exploration. My own cave, you could say, blah. But give the article a read and save the images as your desktop wallpaper. Not only is it a well-written article about an underground kingdom, it also taught me the word bivouacking.

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