Tree canopies droop over each other amidst interlocked green mountains that overlook a deep valley cut by a skinny mud-brown river. At the next stop, Paradise Cave Thien Duong , which opened in , a golf cart took me to a paved ramp to hike up through the trees to a wooden stairway that descends into gigantic cave chambers that run 32km. Two local outfitters, Oxalis and Jungle Boss , have exclusive access to various caves, mostly geared to visitors of varying skill levels. I decided against their overnight trips and went with three one-day tours.
View image of Central Vietnam's Quang Binh province is home to hundreds of limestone karst caves, with 'new' ones being discovered every year Credit: Credit: Kim I Mott. I joined a dozen other travellers, two English-speaking guides and two porters to venture to the Tu Lan cave network, a 70km ride north-west of the national park. The surrounding mountain scenery was used as a setting for the film Kong: Skull Island, and riding there, I was glued to the van window as we passed villages backed by dramatic, lush peaks rising skyward at jagged angles.
Our hike began from a dirt road into what appeared to be impenetrable jungle. The narrow dirt trail rose over gnarling roots and jagged limestone rocks as vines brushed against our shoulders. The air was dense with humidity and soon I was covered in sweat. After a couple of hours, we reached a nook in the mountains where the shadows guarded a gaping entrance.
Our headlamps shot beams through the towering dark. Each new chamber we reached brought its own wonder, as we stepped over sandy floors and brimstone pools, climbed over ribbed formations that resembled giant coiled snakes and then reached a bright-blue lagoon, nearly 1km inside.
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Over the next few days, my appreciation for caves deepened. In another cavern, we passed a stack of old bottles, shoe soles, leather bags, all left by North Vietnamese soldiers during the war. View image of In recent years, this historically impoverished province has emerged as one of the world's great cave destinations Credit: Credit: Kim I Mott. Giap was born nearby and spent a couple of years during the Vietnam War in this 5km-deep cave. Shortly after the lunch, the Limberts received a fateful letter from him.
Over the years, developers have eyed the mountains for potential mining, lumber or tacky cable-car projects, and the Limberts always turn back to Giap. Caves have served as a lot of things to people: shelters, hideouts, blank canvases, metaphors, a source to study slow-moving science.
Travel Menu. In , a group of slaves on a Georgia plantation make the dangerous decision to journey miles north for the promise of freedom. A plantation dance becomes the perfect distraction for a heist while John and Elizabeth step into a strange new world. The timetable for escape is agreed upon and Rosalee is tasked with the most important part of the plan. A notorious slave hunter tracks the runners as John and Elizabeth face a lethal predicament. Noah, Cato and Moses try to get information from Frog Jack, a man who cares about nothing but money, in exchange for their revolver, but are found quickly by August.
In the ensuing fight, Moses is shot in the arm, and the others find out he cannot read.
Zeke beats Frog Jack and they escape, Cato taking the revolver. The group splits up to divert the slave catchers from Moses, Boo and Rosalee. The catchers pursue Cato and Zeke to a river. Zeke suggests fighting them together, but Cato shoots him in the knee and escapes. The catchers attack him, and shoot him fatally, though he manages to kill them all before August arrives and he collapses dead.
Rosalee is separated from Moses and Boo, and runs into August, who tricks her into revealing the train after telling her he saw Zeke. The runaways regroup, and Rosalee reveals she gave up the train's location. They arrive at the train, but August and the catchers have already arrived as well.
Meanwhile, back at the plantation, Susanna Macon convinces Pearly Mae to give up the slaves in exchange for freedom for her and Boo, though not Moses.
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Pearly Mae, since she and Susanna are half sisters and knowing Tom Macon looks after his family, including Rosalee and James, agrees. However, Ernestine, not wanting Rosalee captured, kills her with poison in her drink and then slits her wrists with a table knife to make it look like suicide. The road takes its toll on August, as the runners are trapped in a floating coffin and Ernestine struggles to maintain her influence. August's wife escapes from the mental hospital she is in, forcing August and Ben to track her down. When they find her, Ben sees how badly his mother is affected.
Moses and Boo continue to run, but Moses is eventually shot by arrows when crossing a river, and dies. Boo escapes and eventually runs into Elizabeth, who shelters her while John is out of town, but she is discovered by Kyle. Noah and Cato both tell Henry that he cannot trust the other one, and he struggles to understand the realities of being an adult.
He is later killed in an explosion when they are attacked by slave catchers. On the plantation, James is forced to work.
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Sam protects him, and later tries to buy his freedom, and Ernestine tells him the truth about slavery. Macon, Tom and Susanna's son, also sees the harsh realities of slavery, eventually witnessing Sam escaping. He tries to maintain his friendship with James, promising to release him when he comes to own the plantation. When James refuses, T.
As death closes in, the runners' only hope is a suicidal attempt to hide in plain sight. Ernestine faces her worst fear. Tim Hunter. Everyone must pay for their sins when the day of reckoning arrives. The remaining members of the original runners have made it North, but they've learned that freedom is harder every step of the way. Rosalee, trying desperately to discover who took Noah, finds herself pursued by a new threat.
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Ernestine and Rosalee faces unbearable complications that threaten to break their will to live for both of them. Salli Richardson. The surviving members of the Macon 7, Cato and Noah must face the choices they've made to get where they are. Ernestine, as before with Rosalee, takes on a new apprentice; Cato tempts fate and fortune. Harriet Tubman, in front of Philadelphia abolitionists, reflects on a life lived with conviction, compassion, and courage. After a dose of torture by Cannon, Cato is forced to abducting and selling freed blacks back into slavery; knowing this, Devi is crushed and seems finally done with him for good.
Rosalee and Noah arrive on the Macon plantation and learn that family betrayal cuts the deepest. Ernestine escapes from the plantation. Christopher Meloni. Ernestine is trapped by August and later bonds over their shared guilt as parents. Lawrence Trilling. Rosalee, Noah, and James make their way toward Ohio.