My hometown is in Ninh Binh province, located at the southernmost of the Northern Delta, about 90 km south of Hanoi capital. If you catch a bus at Giap Bat bus station or book a limousine bus, it also costs from 100 to 150 thousand a ticket and only takes two hours to arrive. Although Ninh Binh is a small province, it has a very diverse topography, with mountains, plains, and coastal areas bearing the nuances of a miniature Vietnam. It is the boundary of three geographical regions: the Northwest, the Red River Delta and the North Central Coast, with a natural area of about 1,386 km2 and a population density of about 952,000 people. It is known as a place with rich resources and many historical, cultural relics, famous scenic spots and valuable natural ecological environment. Especially, Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex was recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural and natural heritage in 2014. This is the first mixed heritage of Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
On the way back to Ninh Binh, engrossed in reading descriptions of my hometown on Google, I suddenly woke up when the driver’s assistant announced that passengers were about to get off at the Rest Stop. That was Xuan Khiem station in Ninh Binh province, This is a stop located on the North - South highway, in Mai Son - Cao Bo section. I got out of the car and walked slowly into the station, surprisingly this place is both beautiful, modern, and clean, which made me feel comfortable and less tired. There is also a flower garden next to it for visitors to both visit and take pictures to relax. There is a dining area, fuel filling, which is also very modern. Passengers can both eat and drink, rest and shop for regional specialties. Everyone was so happy and excitedbecause they were about to return home, to the place where they were born and raised, and about to meet their loved ones and give gifts brought back from the city
Surely everyone knows that all provinces and
cities now are not lack of anything. Transportation
of goods has been very good, North and South
just like one house. But why do people away from
home always bring gifts to their family? That is
affection, love, nostalgia for home. I am also a
person living in Saigon visiting my hometown, and
my heart is strangely happy. In my hometown,
all the grandparents of my family have passed away, but their children and grandchildren would probably know me and recognize me.
Since the bus departed, I started searching for addresses, streets, people in my family on Google, Facebook... I was looking for a familiarity, a connection between me and this place. I come here not only for tourism but also to find my roots, in the homeland of the ancestors. After the long journey just ended, I got out of the car in a confused mood, both happy, worried and tired. I’m surprised and nervous, and don’t know where to start? My footsteps are short and tripping over the stone ledges on the road. My eyes were focused around absentmindedly looking at something, I didn’t know who or what to look for, I just walked out from the bus station.
Suddenly there was a voice from behind, “Hello, where are you going?”, I just replied “Yes, I don’t know, I just came hereand am looking for an acquaintance”. That said, I didn’t know anyone when I first came. “So where is your acquaintance, can I drive you there?”, the motorbike driver continued. I was really confused and didn’t know how to describe it, then I suddenly remembered my great-grandfather’s name. “Yes, I heard that the Ly family has a very big ancestral house”, I bragged a little. The motorbike taxi driver suddenly said, “Oh, that’s great, I would like to introduce you, my last name is Ly and my name is Luyen, nice to meet you”. I was overjoyed, involuntarily holding his hand to greet him and the corners of my eyes were also stinging with tears.
I was happy to meet someone I know and consider as my family. My uncle loaded luggage in the car and took me away. From the main road to the small roads stretching and winding, the two sides are green fields, there are a few buffaloes lyingin the pond or in the mud, the birds hovering over the green fields. The scenery was so poetic and beautiful.
The uncle took me to visit the busy trading market crowded with vehicles. It is bustling and busy here, no different from Saigon. Stores of clothes, shoes, fruit, confectionery... everything is displaying all over the street.
In Ninh Binh, there are nearly a hundred large and small festivals such as Hoa Lu festival, Thanh Nguyen Temple festival, Trang An festival, Thai Vi festival... If we were traveling, we could visit Ninh Binh on many occasions and time of the year. However, it is recommended to come in the Spring from January to March when the weather is cool. In the summer from May to August, you will see golden rice fields or fragrant lotus ponds everywhere.
I should give my thanks to Uncle Luyen to let me know that my hometown Ninh Binh now has many great changes and is also the place where my blood flows back to. How happy I am with overflowing joy. The North - South routes opened and widened so that goods could be traded more and more. Then in the countryside, there will be no shortage of anything. But there is one thing that I find that is always missing is the need of family affection, the longing for family of those who work far away. At any time, that love is always worrying, overwhelming, and looking forward to a time, a moment at the end of the year. It is a time of all changes, desires, expectations, blooms, bursts of encounter and love between family members.