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My Son & Last Night in Hoi An

sunny 32 °C

The Kingdom of My Son is remnants of the ancient Cham civilisation that called this area of Vietnam home between the 2nd and 15th centuries. Although their ancient cities are now abandoned the descendants still live in Vietnam and we even met some of these friendly people during our time in the Mekong.

My Son was an establishment dedicated to intense religious study and was also the site where Cham Kings were crowned and buried. Monks were the only people allowed to permanently dwell in the actual city, although villagers from the nearby communities could visit freely.

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It feels pretty special, maybe even spiritual to be visiting a site with such a rich history and culture attached, unfortunately though that feeling is quickly extinguished when you are but one in a crowd of hundreds of tourists with their hungry cameras and sweaty bodies clambering around you to get a good position to hear the guide recite his daily facts that he so noticeably finds monotonous. Although maybe I’m just disappointed I couldn’t explore uncharted ruins like Indiana Jones. Apart from the sea of tourists it really is beautiful.

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^^ Crowded
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Unfortunately, like most things in Vietnam, it was also an adopted field-headquarters for the Viet Cong and consequently the Americans sent in the B52’s. About 90% of the ruins were turned into craters and those that remained are undergoing delicate restoration.

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^^ The rubble
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^^ Exploring!! :)
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I would still definitely recommend visiting My Son as the feeling of being inside an area that was once teeming with ancient culture is still very much in the air around you, albeit competing with the body-odour of the abundant tourists.

That afternoon we visited the market in Hoi An and just chilled out on the river front, hopping from bar to bar all evening.

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^^ Hoi An Market
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At one point a local woman selling various roasted nuts and banana approached us. She was full of complements; exclaiming how handsome I was, and how beautiful Kirby’s eyes were, suffice to say we ‘fell’ for her and ended up buying some of her banana, for which she was quite happy as it was her first sale for the night.
About half an hour later she returned with a grin that stretched from ear to ear. She had returned to thank us and shake our hands as apparently we were good luck for her and just down the road she sold 10 packets of peanuts, 5 bottles of tiger balm, and a few packets of bananas. She was so pleased with her sales and thankful for the luck we had bestowed upon her that she wrote down her address and invited us to her house for dinner tomorrow night with her family. A really kind gesture, unfortunately this was our last night in Hoi An before we head to Hue, so we couldn’t have dinner with her :(, fingers crossed she is still doing well!

Tomorrow we set our sights to conquering the ancient imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue.

Cheers, Kyle

Posted by KyleMac 04:15 Archived in Vietnam Tagged ruins vietnam hoi_an my_son hoian myson b52 Comments (1)

Hoi An and the Crazy Woman on the Bus

sunny 30 °C

Last night we took the sleeping bus from Nha Trang to Hoi An. Believe me when I tell you it was the most horrendous experience we have had so far haha. Where do I even begin?

In theory the idea of a sleeping bus is great; a bus full of bunk-beds that travels during the night while you sleep and you wake up in a new city, awesome!

Where this theory breaks down is... when the air-con is not working and the bus has no windows, when the bus is so overcrowded that locals are sleeping on the floor (the lucky ones in hammocks hitched between two bunks), when the man sleeping on the floor keeps grabbing and touching you all night, when the toilet door latch is broken and slams every time the bus turns a right corner, when the driver beeps the horn every 10 seconds to warn the motorbikes to get out of the way or die, when a German woman brings her three kids under the age of seven on a 13 hour bus ride.

Before I continue let me just tell you about this German woman. She was travelling alone with her three children or ‘babies’ as she so whiningly called them. She had a clipper number 1 shaved head, along with her two little girls and boy. Her outfit consisted of loose hanging shrouds and sarongs, minus shoes and bra, of course. The children were wearing what looked like tea-towels that just hung off their bodies; the poor seven year old girl was struggling to keep her body covered as her dishtowels flopped around with a mind of their own, why isn’t she dressed properly and at school?
It was actually quite disturbing to see, and if this woman was in Australia I can guarantee she would be getting a knock on the door from child services, especially if they saw all the kids and her lining up and squatting next to the bus because the use of the toilet cost 20 cents. This isn’t even the worst, wait for it.
When we were hopping on the bus she told her kids to hold our hand and pretend that Kirby and I had two children, what the fuck??!
Apparently she hadn’t bought tickets for the kids because an adult can travel with 1 child for free if the child shares the bed. So here we were standing on the bus waiting to get to our bunk with a German woman’s ‘babies’ hanging onto us and her begging that we take one of her children each. Obviously we politely said ‘hell no’ and left her to the bus drivers mercy, or lack thereof. After a heated yelling match between her and the driver she had to pay an extra $20 for the kids to get a bed (our 8 open tickets from Saigon to Hanoi cost a combined $38). Who was she kidding though? Of course there wasn’t going to magically be two beds that weren’t occupied, especially when people are sleeping on the floor. So as predicted 5 minutes later two guys hopped on and politely kicked the kids out of their bed and she was left with 3 kids lying on top of her minus $20, and you can imagine what shenanigans went on when three kids are stuck in 1 bunk for 13 hours.
Suffice to say the bus ride was hellish and I wanted to scratch the word ‘sleeping’ from off the side of the bus when we finally made it to Hoi An.

On a lighter note, Hoi An is beautiful and I’m really glad we weren’t disappointed because I was ready to throttle the life out of the next street rooster that cock-a-doodle-doed.

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^^ Hoi An street

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^^ All the buildings in the old district are heritage listed

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^^ An old junk, nestled in the river that runs through the heart of Hoi An

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^^ Hanging out on the bridge

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^^ Playing with the camera

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^^ Looking across the river

When we hopped off the bus we wandered around for a while looking for an affordable guesthouse to stay at. That is when we met a nice lady who kindly guided us to a good cheap hotel ($10 a night) in the middle of the market/old district, where all the attractions are. Little did we know that she owned a tailor store that made custom suits, and her helping us was to ensure our custom later that day. Neither of us wanted anything made so that put us in a bit of a bind. We tried to avoid her but she hunted us down on the street and when we told her we didn’t want to buy anything from her she got fairly angry at us and was unreasonably rude, what she didn’t know was how rough our night had been and Kirby was most definitely not ready to take any shit, and with a selection of uncompromising words and matching body language Kirby put the woman back in her place, something she probably wasn’t used to after always dealing with timid travellers out of their comfort zones.

After a fairly eventful previous evening and day we were ready for some relaxing and thankfully Hoi An is the town famous for its 2.5 cent beers, yeah you read correct, two and a half cents for a beer! Not many bars in Australia give you change for 5 cents haha :).

Tomorrow we are off to My Son, the remains of an ancient Cham civilisation.

Cheers, Kyle

Posted by KyleMac 08:10 Archived in Vietnam Tagged bus vietnam hoi_an hoian sleeping_bus crazy_lady Comments (3)

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