Featured photo for My Son

My Son

Before the title of this post raises any eyebrows or gives anyone a stroke, please let me clarify: no, I do not have a son. Or a daughter, for that matter. (Though I became an uncle the day before I left for Vietnam!) Rather, My Son refers to a World Heritage Site in Central Vietnam near Hoi An, where I am typing this from. I went on a tour of this place this morning. Here are some notes:

The most spectacular (supposedly) parts of My Son were bombed out during the Nixon years of the Vietnam war. Other parts remain, but they were mostly brick ruins that did not particularly impress me, perhaps due to ignorance as to their significance. The tour guide was not of particular help. First of all, he kept disappearing, and the three or four times he did try to communicate something (“laadiees and genntlemennn…”), it was hard to understand him. Oh well. At least the scenery was nice, with lush forests punctuated by sawtooth-shaped mountains, and I got some hiking in particularly because there were not enough vehicles to transport all of the tourists from the entrance to the ruins (about a mile). The weather was nicer than yesterday—very breezy and less humid with a touch less heat.

The best part of the tour was after visiting the My Son ruins. That is because we hopped back onto an air-conditioned bus over to a boat, where we had lunch (rice with cabbage and something resembling chopped-up egg rolls) while motoring across and muddy-but-calm river. Please don’t ask me the name of this river, because again the tour guide was of no help. Well, at least he was smiley, if not particularly verbose. Anyhow, the boat ride was very pleasant—as long as you ignored the engine that sounded like a muffled jack-hammer—and we went over to Kim Dong, where boats and other items were made out of wood.

From there we were deposited onto the harbor of Hoi An, and then told, “Just walk back to your hotels!” Mass confusion then erupted as most of us had no idea where our respective hotels were, but at least we had the rest of the day to wander around and find them. I really had no idea whether I was one, two, or three miles away from mine, nor was completely sure of the direction, so I ended up waving down a scooter guy, showed him my hotel key, and then bummed a ride on the rear of his machine for 15,000 dong (about 93 cents).

Not a bad day. Now, over to find some dinner, and maybe take a dip in the pool.

Vietnamese ceremony at My Son.
Colorful homes in quiet Kim Bong, where ships and other wood works were constructed.
Man in canoe at harbor in Hoi An.
These ruins were still intact.
Security guard by one of the ruins.
Group A -- supposedly once the nicest of all the temples here -- were bombed by the Americans in the Vietnam War.
Vietnamese girl listens to MP3s on her Sony Ericson cell phone while looking out the boat from My Son to Hoi An.
On the river.
The view from the front of our boat to Kim Bong.
Corn in Kim Bong.
Walking 1.5 kilometers to the ruins at My Son.