Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hoi An Day 2: My Son Ruins and An Bang Beach

We were outside by 4:30am. Which meant stepping over the 2 reception staff sleeping in the lobby on their cots, unlocking the hotel door, and climbing over the small gate. It was still dark outside.

There were two other young tourists sitting on the sidewalk so we asked:
- "Hi! Are you going to My Son as well?"
- "... uh... Wha... Where?"
- "The Champa ruins, the sunrise tour?"
- "No we, we were, uh... We're looking for our hotel, hostel. We dunno where we are. Hahaha! *hic!* Can't remember the, uh... the name of the street... or the hotel. *hic!*"
You know... some people get up at sunrise, others party til sunrise.
Direction: My Son (pronounced "mee son") ruins of the Champa people!  The Kingdom of Champa reigned from yrs 400 to 900 in central Vietnam. The temples here, outside Hoi An, were built for their king and no one else. Not even monks could occupy the place! Some of the temples were royal tombs... They look very different from Angkor, because they used brick and resin.
Champa ruins of My Son, outside Hoi An
Champa ruins of My Son, outside Hoi An
Many restoration projects are taking place around the site. My parents and I tried to communicate with some of the workers who were restoring a particularly old structure. They were so very proud to show us the bricks, the bucket of resin, the tools, and eager to show us their extremely slow and meticulous process of fitting the new bricks in one by one, by trial and error, adjusting the shape with sandpaper each time. Ôi Chúa ơi! ("Oh my god" in Vietnamese.)
Restoration project on one of the temples can take years. Yay, more jobs!
According to our guide, There are only about 160,000 Champa people left today, scattered about Vietnam and Cambodia.

We were back on time for breakfast! That's how early we got up this morning...  

After the ruins, it was pool time, siesta time, and we rented bicycles (for $1) to go to An Bang beach, which was a lovely break from the heat! Just the feeling of COLD waves was one of my best moments in Hoi An. I biked back to town in my super short shorts. Shouldn't have done that. My legs were an extremely dangerous distraction for the drivers on the road.
An Bang Beach, 30 minutes bike ride north of Hoi An.
We wanted a light healthy lunch and ended up eating some not-so-good local banh xeo (really oily & eggy pancake) and deep fried spring rolls for lunch. Greasy... We spent an hour at the Sinh Tourist planning our next stretch in the north of Vietnam: Hanoi, Halong, Sa Pa!
The famous Japanese Bridge in Hoi An
More colorful lanterns along the Thu Bon River in Hoi An.
We spent the evening walking around Hoi An. It's very touristy: it's all restaurants, tailors, cooking classes and massage. There's too much choice!! I went back to BELI tailor for a first fitting, to cut the shoulders a bit more and tighten the neck.

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