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Something Navy Nordstrom Collection: What To Buy

When most people want to impress someone, they’ll put on the outfit they feel best in, or maybe put on some lipstick. But when Arielle Charnas wanted to impress an old boyfriend she took that one step further and started Something Navy, the fashion blog that would launch her career. Over the years she’s racked up over a million Instagram followers who eagerly await her every outfit. Just this past September she gave fans a way to shop her style with the first stand alone Something Navy collection with Nordstrom following the success of last year’s Treasure & Bond collaboration. Her oversized sweaters, teddy coats and statement tops allegedly earned $1 million in the first 24 hours after the collection’s release.

Not everything was available at once though and there have been multiple drops since, the latest was just unveiled on Nordstrom this morning. There’s more apparel, specifically lots of great sweaters and jackets as well as jewelry and sleepwear. The pieces probably look familiar because Charnas has been wearing them on Instagram for the past couple of weeks, teasing her followers who keep asking “When!?” Well today is the day and we’ve narrowed down our favorites from the latest launch including a great polka silk pajama top, a red faux leather puffer and color block snakeskin boots. Shop the best of the collection below.

New Elseworlds Clip Shows The Flash With Green Arrow’s Fighting Skills

The CW’s upcoming “Elseworlds” crossover released its first clip recently, and the footage showed Stephen Amell’s “Barry Allen” very confused and shocked that his wife Iris is kissing him. Now, another clip has surfaced with Grant Gustin sparring against Diggle and utilizing the Green Arrow’s fighting skills.

Much like Stephen Amell’s Barry Allen, Grant Gustin’s Oliver Queen is confused by the fact he’s being referred to by his good friend’s name. Diggle, much like Iris, is oblivious that anything has changed, while Gustin’s Queen is clearly aware that something is amiss in this situation. Gustin’s Queen realizing he has Green Arrow’s fighting ability somewhat snaps him out of it, although by the end of the promo his mind is just as blown as Amell’s Barry seemed to be.

The new teaser presumably sheds some light on what was happening in the first one and sends some theories to the front of the line regarding what “Elseworlds” will follow. It now seems more likely that Earth 1’s Barry and Oliver Queen have traded lives. Strangely enough, both heroes appear to be aware they’re not who they’re supposed to be, despite other characters’ insistence otherwise. Is this the result of some Flashpoint level event, or does Monitor have a hand in this?

What’s even weirder is that while the two men are in disbelief of who they are, they seem to have each other’s gifts. The footage has only confirmed that with Gustin’s Oliver, although Stephen Amell’s various photos of himself in a Flash costume have us thinking he’ll have Barry’s speedster powers as well. So, provided that’s all accurate, what’s next?

Well, if the two men are on the same world, chances are they’re going to try and meet and make sense of everything that’s going on. If they aren’t, they’ll have to embrace their new lives and abilities as best they can until the reason behind why this happened becomes clear. Here’s hoping they’re on the same Earth, as we’d love to see the actual Barry’s reaction to the news that Oliver kissed his wife.

There are more questions to be pulled from this latest “Elseworlds” teaser, as well. Why is Grant Gustin’s Oliver sparring with Diggle, and not currently locked up in Slabside? Granted, Felicity and the gang felt they’ve figured out a way to free Oliver from prison, but we’re not sure it’ll happen before the crossover. Also, we’re wondering how Barry and Oliver’s Freaky Friday experience has anything to do with Supergirl and Batwoman. Does this mean they’ll swap identities too?

Hopefully, more details will come to light ahead of the “Elseworlds” crossover, which is set to begin on The CW Sunday, December 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET. For a look at what’s headed to television before and after that, be sure to visit our handy fall premiere guide.

The Surprising Way Fantastic Beasts Stars Ezra Miller And Claudia Kim Bonded While Making The Movie

In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, we don’t see the origins of the relationship between Credence (Ezra Miller) and Nagini (Claudia Kim), but it’s clear they have grown close in the time since the previous movie. They are both outsiders with trouble finding their place in society, and it creates a strong bond between them. Naturally, this resulted in the need for Miller and Kim to get to know each other a bit behind the scenes – and as I learned earlier this month, apparently that involved a trip to a solstice party filled with “techno pagan wing nuts,” which you can learn about by clicking play on the video below!

Ezra Miller and Claudia Kim were paired for interviews during the Los Angeles press day for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and I had the chance to sit down with the duo to talk about their roles in the film. While talking about the pre-production process and discussing the relationship between their characters, they revealed that they had a nice bonding session that involved the destruction of a glass bowl and a trip to a strange pagan ritual.

Is this weird? Sure. But one can understand the idea. After all, the two were getting ready to star in a movie full of all sorts of magic and mysticism, so it makes some sense to try and get in touch with the closest thing we have to that in the real world.

Picking up a year after the events of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, the new sequel begins with Credence still being on the run after narrowly evading destruction in his Obscurial form. In an attempt to try and understand his connection to the wizarding world, he travels to Paris in hopes of finding his mother, and winds up finding a friend in Nagini, who is a part of a circus sideshow. She is a Maledictus, which means that she can turn into a giant snake — however, it’s a blood curse that means she will morph and take that form permanently (as seen in the Harry Potter films).

The ride that Credence and Nagini go on in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald is one of many weird and wild turns that spell out interesting things for the future — and audiences will be able to witness that journey for themselves very soon. After a nice long wait, the new movie — co-starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Jude Law, and more — will be arriving in theaters this Friday, November 16th. Stay tuned for a whole lot more of our coverage here on CinemaBlend, including more from my interviews with the wonderful cast!

The Flash May Have Revealed How It Will Solve Two Big Season 5 Mysteries

Warning! The following contains spoilers for The Flash episode “All Doll’d Up.” Read at your own risk!

The Flash‘s recent Season 5 episode featured Iris and Barry taking on a super flexible meta, while the side characters went to work on a bigger mystery. The West-Allens enjoyed their family moment as Cisco and Caitlin were putting in work trying to find her father, and they may have found the key to solving that and the Cicada mystery all at once. Weirdly enough, two of the season’s biggest mysteries may be solved thanks to The Thinker.

Cisco, who was feeling pretty low earlier in the night due to his Vibe abilities still recovering, got his groove back when Caitlin reminded him he can still contribute to the team. It led to another masterful naming of the latest meta villain, Ragdoll, and a bit of inspired brilliance via Ralph and Sherloque Wells. Cisco realized that while the S.T.A.R. Labs satellite, Sally, was gone, he could still hack into the Thinker’s other four satellites that he launched for The Enlightenment.

Cisco successfully took control of the satellites, which he then named Hal, Robbie, Data, and Colossus. The names weren’t a hit with Sherloque Wells, but it didn’t matter, because it gave Team Flash the “eyes and ears” it needed to simultaneously track shards from the same satellite that created Cicada, as well as possibly pinpoint the location of Caitlin’s missing father.

The Cicada part is important because Ralph and Wells believe they can track pieces of the satellite shards to find some answers on what the big bad’s weakness may be. The two detectives declared they had joined forces at the episode’s end, and appeared committed to working together to figure out how to stop Cicada. Cicada’s case seemed like a bit much for both men to handle solo, so perhaps with their combined powers they’ll pull it off.

Their chances of success seem high, especially given their hypothesis that Caitlin’s father was hiding out at a Tannhauser black ops site. The theory made sense to Caitlin and Cisco, and with the satellite, they can now drill down on the possible locations where her father may be. It won’t necessarily be easy, but it will be possible thanks to Thinker’s repurposed satellites.

Wells and Ralph were understandably psyched to have a big break in the Cicada mystery, but The Flash made it clear Caitlin had reservations about the next step in finding her father. Cisco assured his friend they wouldn’t go forward with the search until she was ready, which will give her time to work out all the mixed emotions she has about facing a dad she’s believed to be dead for some time.

We’re excited for The Flash to finally catch a break in both major mysteries, although we’re worried about Cisco’s converting of the satellites. After all, Thinker could’ve theorized the technology may one day be utilized by Team Flash, and set up a way of sabotaging it. He was a pretty smart guy, so we wouldn’t be surprised if Cisco’s hack triggered some sort of response that could bring the villain back into their lives down the stretch.

The Flash airs on The CW Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. For a look at what else is happening on television in the near future, be sure to visit our fall premiere guide.

The Next Overwatch Update Will Require A Full Re-Install

Those of you out there who may have been begging for a huge new update for Overwatch might be walking back those thoughts now that it’s been revealed that the next major patch for the game will require you to completely reinstall the entire game.

The news was revealed over on the Blizzard forums, where community support Drakuloth made a post informing gamers that the patch would be quite huge and that while there is no release date or time frame on when the massive new patch will be inbound, the entire client will have to reinstall itself to accommodate all the big new changes. Drakuloth stated…

To further explain why this is happening, the developers at Blizzard working on Overwatch have changed so much of the fundamental infrastructure on how the client operates, manages content, will handle future updates, and streamline patches into the game, that the team decided it was best if players just completely reinstall the brand new client to handle all of these massive new changes set to take place.

This post was made after users began complaining about the file size for a background update in queue for an update that totaled 6GB in size, while others noted that the total install would require downloading 30GB worth of data. Obviously, 6GB is big enough to be an entirely new game, just the same as 30GB, or in this generation it’s big enough to be a few texture packets for a 4K UHD Xbox One X title. Either way, a lot of the people playing Overwatch are doing so on low-end PCs or on home consoles. As mentioned by some of the users in the forum threads, some of these gamers are on limited bandwidth connections and so they’re monitoring how much bandwidth they’re actually using each month.

Some have speculated that the patch already contains Ashe and her partner Bob, and this is also partly why the update is going to be so large, but Ashe made her appearance in the most recent patch on November 13th. Ashe was also just recently announced at this past year’s BlizzCon that took place in Texas, where a rather precarious thing happened with Diablo: Immortal. But, I digress.

Regarding the Overwatch patch… the new update and its massive reinstallation file may prove difficult for some gamers on metered or unreliable connections. So far, the community support staff has offered no advice on whether or not gamers will be able to download the patch in segmented files, but I’m sure Blizzard will offer some options to download the update in a way that doesn’t completely clog up a user’s bandwidth, similar to how Valve allows gamers to either schedule patching/downloading or throttle the bandwidth for games in Steam.

The massive reinstallation patch will be required for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One versions of the game. If you have plans on installing it, be sure that you have enough bandwidth free if you’re on a monthly cap, and make sure to set aside some hours (or days) for the download to complete.

The Game Awards Has Announced The 2018 Nominees

Each year Geoff Keighley has been working hard toward legitimizing an awards show for video games, attempting to find that fine balance between an entertaining two hour awards show and revealing brand new content and games within the industry. Before getting to that big night The Game Awards listed the nominees who are up for awards this year, and you can see which games you’ll be rooting for come December.

Voting is open for each of the entries, which includes a number of high-profile games that can be voted on over on the official Game Awards website. It’s broken down with several games (or performers) per category, starting with Game of the Year. All of the big categories are listed below, but you can visit the official website to see every nominee in every category for this year’s Game Awards show, which features more than 100 nominations for individuals and games. The show will air next month, on December 6th.

Some of these seem like they have pretty easy to figure out winners, such as Ninja likely taking the Content Creator of the Year award, and Fortnite running away with the Best Multiplayer category. However, some of the other categories are a tough call, such as Best Performer. Christopher Judge really knocked it out of the park as Kratos in God of War, and Yuri Lowenthal was one of the best portrayals of Peter Parker and Spider-Man of any incarnation of the character, whether it be in a cartoon, a live-action movie or a video game.

However, Bryan Dechart’s portrayal of Connor in Detroit: Become Human was unforgettably sublime. That’s going to be a really tough category to pick a winner in, but in terms of long-lasting appeal and just really bringing an original character to life, Dechart’s turn as Connor can’t go ignored, regardless of what the rest of the game was like.

I’m also pretty sure that Dragon Ball FighterZ will come away with the win for the Best Fighting Game of the year. It’s a visual powerhouse that really captures the look and feel of the show, and it had such a strong showing at this year’s EVO Championship Series that it’s impossible to think that any other game would come away with the honors. However, that’s not to discount the quality and fun-factors featured in games like Soul Calibur VI.

It’s also nice to see games like A Way Out and The Messenger make the nominees’ list. They’re in tough categories, though, and I’m pretty sure Cory Barlog is going to come away with the win for God of War in the Best Game Direction category, but that’s not to take anything away from excellently directed titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man.

Speaking of which, it would be righteous justice if John Paesano came away with the win for the musical score on Marvel’s Spider-Man because it really does have a standout soundtrack. I’ve been replaying that score over and over again. Of course, there’s no way to discount Octopath Traveler, which really captures the classic nostalgia from the 16-bit era of gaming, but brought to life for today’s generation of gaming.

So, what do you think of the nominees and who do you think will come away with the win this year in each category?

Why The New Grinch Movie Is Better Than The Jim Carrey One

Warning: there are SPOILERS for The Grinch ahead!

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! has been a Christmas season staple for decades, and for a long time, there were two ways to enjoy the tale: read the original book or watch the animated 1966 TV special starring Boris Karloff. That changed in 2000 with the release of the live action How The Grinch Stole Christmas movie, and nearly two decades later, now there’s a fourth option available in the CGI movie known simply as The Grinch.

Let’s get this out of the way immediately: neither of the theatrical movies can compare to the original Grinch book and TV special. Those both tell the core story, and while short, they’re unquestionably still beloved by many. Having said that, between the two theatrical versions, I firmly believe that The Grinch, i.e. the one from Illumination Entertainment, handles the source material better than its live action predecessor. If you have to pick one or the other to sit kids in front of, this latest movie is the one to choose.

I should note that I’m actually a fan of the Jim Carrey Grinch movie, unlike many other people, as I’ve learned in recent years. It was a tall order turning Dr. Seuss’ original tale into a full-length feature, and naturally that meant taking creative liberties. From a visual standpoint, this movie looks excellent, from the makeup for Carrey’s Grinch and the other Whos to the weird architecture and curvy designs of their everyday objects. And without Carrey as the lead, this movie wouldn’t have been nearly as good. I still find myself quoting some of his perfectly-delivered lines throughout the year (“Kids today. So desensitized by movies and television.”)

But what’s working against the live action Grinch movie, particularly in comparison to the new CGI version, is the subject matter. For one thing, the backstory about why the Grinch hates the Whos isn’t that compelling, particularly since he was already showing sadistic tendencies as an infant. There’s also the fact that the Whos (most of whom are unlikable, Cindy Lou being the big exception) are obsessed with the commercialism of Christmas, and while the Whos ultimately learn the true meaning of Christmas, which is what should happen, the fact that they learn this lesson minutes before the Grinch does just feels weird.

Let’s not even delve too deeply into the humor that’s clearly not intended for young ones. For example, remember how on the night Baby Grinch arrived in Whoville, the sisters who would become his adoptive parents were having a key party? Seriously! Oh well, at least this movie”s content wasn’t anywhere near as atrocious as what was in The Cat in the Hat. That one was rough.

Illumination Entertainment’s The Grinch, on the other hand, in addition to being visually dazzling in its own special way, has a steadier and more faithful grip on How The Grinch Stole Christmas! and has more of a sense of childlike wonder. Starting off, the Whos and Whoville much more closely the ones from the original tale. Sure they’re still keen on going all out on decorating and making a spectacle of the holiday season, but that comes secondary to the presents and enjoying one another’s company. Subsequently, Cindy Lou’s side story is more interesting to watch, as she’s not interested in learning the true meaning of Christmas (which has frankly become cliched), but wants to trap Santa Claus so that she can ask him to do something nice for her overworked mom.

Grinch’s backstory is also much more compelling in his new movie. In this version of events, he basically grew up alone in an orphanage; he’s not considered an outcast among the Whos because of the way he looks, but is nonetheless distant from them. Because of his depressing childhood and not being able to celebrate Christmas with everyone else, it makes sense by the time he gets out of the orphanage and makes his new home on Mount Crumpet, he wouldn’t want anything to do with Christmas. As Grinch (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) acknowledges at the end of the movie, he associated the holiday with loneliness.

On the humor side of things, The Grinch feels like it will stand the test of time better than its live action predecessor. There are a few jokes and gags in there that are a little too “modern” (like Grinch wearing exercise pants with writing on the butt), overall the laughs feel timeless. And for those of you particularly protective regarding what your children watch, The Grinch is also more family-friendly, i.e. you won’t find any subtle, adult-oriented humor buried in there.

All of this isn’t to say that The Grinch doesn’t have issues or problems. Like the Jim Carrey version, the narrator (this time Pharrell Williams) recites original poetry with that Seuss feel, which by itself isn’t a bad thing. But when Grinch heads to Whoville disguised as Santa Claus to steal Christmas, then it starts to abandon the traditional Seuss formula and reaches its ending in a slightly different way. As stated earlier, creative liberties are to be expected with an adaptation, especially of a short story, but this choice feels a little too divergent from what came before.

Along with the latter half of The Grinch dragging, there’s also an instance where, like in the live action movie, Grinch shows signs of decency long before his heart grows three sizes, like when he lets his pet reindeer Fred go back to its family. This pays off in the climax, but it softens the ultimate impact of seeing him reform. The anti-commercialism message at the end is also slightly toned down, and while we still get to see Grinch enjoy the holiday with his new friends at the end, the moral that Dr. Seuss was passing on in the original How The Grinch Stole Christmas! is diluted.

Overall though, The Grinch feels closer in spirit to the story Dr. Seuss gave us than the live action movie did. Who knows if decades from now another studio will give us yet another live action or animated version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, but as things stand now, Illumination Entertainment has delivered the cinematic adaptation. But again, there are enjoyable elements from the Jim Carrey version, and there’s nothing to say that you can’t enjoy all of these Grinch stories. The CGI movie just has the edge between the two in terms of appealing to the widest audience possible.

You can judge The Grinch for yourself now in theaters, and be sure to read CinemaBlend’s review of the movie. Don’t forget to look through our holiday movie guide to learn what movies are coming out in the final weeks of this year, as well as our 2019 release schedule to get an early start preparing for your theatrical experiences next year.

Which version of The Grinch do you prefer?

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A Blow-Your-Mind Adventure in Vietnam’s Caves

LAP UP Swimming in Ken Cave.
LAP UP Swimming in Ken Cave. Photo: Tobi Schnofeil

THE BATS WERE in a frenzy. At first it was just a single creature, flashing past my face as seven of us, wearing life jackets, helmets and headlamps, bobbed in a shadowy river inside a 3-million-year-old cave in north-central Vietnam. As we swam deeper into the darkness, into a watery chamber the size of a basketball arena, our beams revealed scores of bats zipping around us from all directions, feasting on constellations of tiny white bugs orbiting our illuminated heads. Cave swimming isn’t for everyone.

I was halfway into a three-day hiking and swimming tour in what is fast becoming one of the world’s most popular caving destinations, a massive limestone formation 300 miles south of Hanoi. Hundreds of caves are carved out of an otherworldly landscape of undulating mountain ranges and isolated karst towers that feels so prehistoric you half expect pterodactyls to come swooping through.

Exploring Tu Lan Cave.
Exploring Tu Lan Cave. Photo: Ngo Tran Hai An

Southeast Asia’s tourist-friendly bounty of caves entered the spotlight last summer, when heavy rain flooded the subterranean chambers that 12 young Thai soccer players and their coach were exploring post-practice, trapping them. Our expedition, run by Oxalis Adventure Tours, was painstakingly laid out by speleologists with extensive experience mapping caves and led by guides trained in first aid and water rescues. Most important, we weren’t in danger of surging waters because Oxalis doesn’t run tours in the rainy season. Cave tourism in Vietnam is a relatively recent phenomenon. British spelunkers started surveying the region in 1990 and discovered the largest known cave passage in the world, Son Doong, in 2009. It’s nearly 4 miles long and tall enough to contain a 40-story building. Oxalis, formed in 2011, started the first trekking and camping expeditions in that cave and several others. Even after the Thai incident, business is thriving for Oxalis and other local cave operators, they say.

I opted for the tour with the most swimming, Oxalis’ Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer. Our trip began in Phong Nha, a small town on the Son River surrounded by jagged ranges and populated by low-slung hotels and homestays run by locals capitalizing on the growing tourism. After a 90-minute drive northwest to Oxalis’ staging base, our tour guide, Pham Hong Dai, briefed my group, which included three Californians, a banker from Milan and a college student from Da Nang. He told us what was in store: six caves, 10 miles of hiking, 1,000 yards of swimming in four caverns, and two nights camping at waterfalls outside caves. And he offered some crucial bits of advice: Watch for poison ivy and snakes and don’t overtake him. Oxalis provided the caving gear, and porters carried our bags ahead to the first campsite.

Trekking to Tu Lan Caves.
Trekking to Tu Lan Caves. Photo: Tobi Schnofeil

In the 90-degree heat and humidity, we walked from the Oxalis pavilion onto a concrete road built by the makers of “Kong: Skull Island,” filmed in the province in 2016, through a valley hemmed by lush peaks. We started with a hike up a mountainside to a dry chamber called Rat Cave, a lair for the movie monster and our setting for lunch. The opening of this dry cave was like a giant shark’s mouth with serrated teeth at the top. Inside, an obelisk-like stalagmite stood sentinel atop a mound decked with moss and neon-green ferns. After lunching on pork spring rolls and dragon fruit spread out on a tarp, we ventured into our first darkened chamber, headlamps exposing thousands of ashen stalactites clinging to the ceiling 50-feet above like icicles coated in cobwebs.

Every cave featured both tight passages and massive chambers, some as high as 150 feet, often streaked in blues, greens, grays or yellows derived from trace minerals and organic acids. Most of the rooms were encrusted with formations bulging from the walls, dripping from the ceilings and rising from the floor. Recurring shapes reminded me of Doric columns, mushroom clouds and giant squids.

‘The opening of the cave was like a giant shark’s mouth with teeth.’

After leaving Rat Cave, we hiked two hours down the mountain to our first campsite and our first swim, outside of Ken Cave. There, a one-story waterfall tumbled from the entrance forming our own private swimming hole. I walked straight into the warm emerald pool in pants and shirt before shedding them for a few laps, enamored of the white cliffs encircling the swimming hole. The light dimmed as I swam butterfly 75 meters into the back of the cave’s mouth. Thoughts of a Leviathan dragging me under sent me quickly in reverse, swimming backstroke under massive stalactites hanging two stories above like divebombing dragons. That night, at the campsite, we toasted our adventure with rice-wine shots. In our tents at 8 p.m., we fell asleep to the sounds of screeching insects and crashing water.

The second day brought swims in three caves. First we were back in Ken, in our shirts, pants, boots, life jackets and helmets, pulling against the slight current. After 150 yards, we climbed out onto a ledge, slowly moving over muddy paths, dry sandy floors and spiky rocks. We came to a 2-foot high stalagmite like a baptismal font. “Lights off,” Dai said. We sat on cool clay, listening to drops splashing every few seconds into the round font, leaving behind micro-traces of minerals that form dripstone over millennia. We ended the afternoon by hiking into nearby Kim Cave and into a shallow river. We trekked knee-deep before coming to a small series of rapids, our first waterfall in the dark.

Swimmin in Hung Ton Cave.
Swimmin in Hung Ton Cave. Photo: Oxalis Adventures

On the third day, we entered our final cave, Ton. We swam through narrow passages that resembled canyon gorges, a few feet wide and 30 feet high, against the strongest current of the trip. “I thought you were going to pick an easy one for the end,” said Carlos Morales, one of the Californians, to Dai as we trudged out of the watery entrance. A quartet of white butterflies fluttered toward a path leading to an hour-long hike down to the valley, to showers and cold beer.

THE LOWDOWN / Spelunking in Vietnam

Getting There: Vietnam’s most popular caves are in mountainous Quang Binh Province. As a base, most tourists use the town of Phong Nha, about an hour drive from the nearest airport, Dong Hoi, which can be reached via multiple daily flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi (baolau.com). From Da Nang, you can also take a picturesque, six-hour train ride along coastal cliffs north to Dong Hoi.

Caving There: International speleologists attribute Vietnam’s outstanding caves to the abundance of thick limestone and warm water. Heavy rains in the fall mean the best caving months are February through August, and swimming is ideal in late summer when river temperatures are around 80 degrees. You can spend a few hours or a few days in the caves in and around Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Paradise and Phong Nha caves are mammoth, so-called show caves where thousands of visitors descend daily to tour from walkways or boats. Multiple-day tours are run by three companies—Oxalis Adventure Tours, Jungle Boss and Greenland Tours—each with government concessions to operate in separate caves. The tours are small, generally two to 16 customers, and operators provide van rides, caving gear and meals. Oxalis offers 11 tours ranging from one day in Nuoc Nut Cave for about $70 to four days in Son Doong, with guests camping inside the world’s largest known cave passage, for $3,000 per person. The best swimming is on the Wild Tu Lan Cave Explorer, with two nights jungle camping, for $350. There is no cellphone service or electricity in the jungle so bring a power pack for charging.

Staying There: Rooms in the growing number of guest houses along Phong Nha’s main road range from $15 to $30 a night. One of the few luxury offerings, Victory Road Villas opened in 2017 on the bank of the Son River with seven apartments in a fusion of French colonial and Vietnamese styles (from $150 a night; victoryroadvillas.com). Oxalis also runs Chay Lap Farmstay, a landscaped retreat with 39 rooms and cottages and a water sports complex on the river, where you can kayak and swim; it’s about a 20-minute drive from Phong Nha town (from $55 a night; chaylapfarmstay.com). Nguyen Shack Phong Nha Lake Hill opened this summer with 20 wooden bungalows in the countryside with a swimming pool shaped like a boat (from $35 a night; nguyenshack.com/phongnha/ecoresort/).

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Watch Marvel’s Sweet Tribute To Stan Lee

In the hours following Stan Lee’s death, and likely for days and weeks to come, there has been a tremendous outpouring of love and remembrance for the comic book and entertainment icon. From actors and Hollywood’s most powerful players, to comic book writers and fans, seemingly everyone has taken time to offer up their thoughts, memories and photographs of Stan Lee as a way to share our collective heartbreak and celebrate his life. Marvel also created a sweet tribute to the man whose life will have an ever-lasting impact. Take a look.

I’m not crying; like the Stan Lee-created Matt Murdock, I’ve just got something in my eye. Marvel created a beautiful tribute here that honors Stan Lee’s legacy through the words of those at the company that he helped build. Instead of focusing on his cameos or the success his characters have gone on to on the big screen, Marvel’s tribute video remembers the man himself and the impact of his work.

Many who have never read his comics probably know Stan Lee for his brilliant cameos in Marvel films, but this tribute video shows old photos of him in his youth creating the Marvel that became a worldwide brand, and they’re really cool to see. From his presence at Comic-Cons and on red carpets, the video shows Stan Lee has always had an infectious smile on his face and unbridled enthusiasm for storytelling.

This video from Marvel Entertainment’s Twitter account touches on so much of what made Stan “The Man” the star he was and why the worlds and characters he created have been so enduring. As Tom Brevoort says in the video, Stan Lee’s best creation was himself, with a larger than life personality that endeared him to comic book fans and eventually the public at large.

Marvel highlights Stan Lee’s creative genius, which saw him imbue his superheroes with humanity and flaws, long cited as one of the distinctions that set Marvel superheroes apart. That humanity existed throughout his work, with his allegorical stories speaking to the real-world issues of the day.

That fearlessness extended beyond the panels as well, as Stan Lee spoke directly to the readers through his soapbox, espousing the importance of diversity and equality. These ideals are symbolized by his co-creations of the X-Men and Black Panther, and part of what makes them still so relevant today.

In the tribute video, Marvel’s Sana Amanat says, “There will never be a world without Stan Lee” and she couldn’t be more right. Stan Lee’s characters and stories built a company into an empire and are now permanent staples in pop culture. The closest analog is Walt Disney, with whose company Marvel now walks hand in hand.

Stan Lee’s cameos in movies reminded us of his constant presence, one that will not fade with his passing, with his eternal creations constant reminders of him. Thanks to his own efforts and the success of those that followed him, Stan Lee was made myth while living and tributes like these further add to his legend now that he is gone.

I think Jason Lee’s Brody said it best in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats when, upon meeting Stan Lee, he exclaimed “Shit man, you are a god.” Indeed. Godspeed and Excelsior!