n Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
Awakening from an unrestful sleep, perturbed by an ever roaming mind and a good hit of opium, Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote these lines in a rush of creative inspiration. He may have been dreaming of Vietnam’s Quang Binh province when he wrote them.
Certainly for me, the landscape and geology of Quang Binh province have come closest to the natural realization of the romantic chasms and caves of ice in “Kubla Khan”. The area is a dense jungle in shades of green, with tall vine-entwined trees and dense foliage forming a thick canopy that conceals hundreds of caverns and the streams and rivers that course through them. Continue reading