My visit to The Stream began with a highly eventful journey through the Vietnamese countryside.
But The Stream itself begins with a waterfall. As the rainfall tumbles down the deep jungle's mountainside, it pours over first the large fall pictured above, and then across a series of boulders and rocky ledges, creating small falls and deep pools that are just about perfect for a day of play.
This natural water park has been here for a long, long time. Both my daughter's boyfriend, Ky, and his father spent their boyhoods jumping off these rocks and splashing through these very same waters.
But just last year, I'm told, a series of shaded platforms were built. Precariously balanced upon the boulders and up in the trees, the shelters give stream-goers a place to spread out a picnic, watch the swimmers, or snooze In the afternoon shade.
Between and among the platforms are a series of bridges and walkways that give stream goers full transit around the area.
I was super excited when I first saw them, feeling like I'd stumbled onto a real life Gilligan's Island. But once I got an up close and personal look at the construction techniques, my enthusiasm was somewhat tempered.
But the real center of all the attention were the pools. Cool, clear water ran briskly across the rocks creating a crazy variety of interesting spaces. And we had a blast playing there all afternoon long.
Iky's mama might have crawled up under the little waterfalls, positioning herself under the maximum impact of the cascade and sweetly smiling as she proclaimed, "Massage!"
We might have made friends with the little chicken-killing girl who worked like a champ all morning long but swam like a fish after her work day was done. We tickled each other's toes underwater and smiled back and forth till our cheeks hurt.
I might have slipped while crossing a slippery boulder. After losing my balance, I fell face first onto the rock, crashed down a four-foot fall, and plunged into the deep end of the big pool. Dazed but mostly unhurt, I surfaced to the whoops, cheers, and applause of dozens of my fellow stream-goers who had been entertained by the crazy white lady's antics.
All in all, I had a great time at The Stream, and I'd gladly go back there any old day to play some more.