Good morning from Hội An.
It has been a couple of days since I updated the blog as we have been out and about seeing the sights of Hội An and the surrounding area.
We left Hue on Thursday by train to Danang in the middle of a tropical downpour. The station was a simple affair but optimistically offered the time zones in 5 different countries 🙂 The tracks were open and people freely wandered across them as we waited for the train. The train itself was fine (in our carriage anyway) with big seats and a central TV in the middle of the carriage roof. We had the joys of listening to re-runs of the Vietnamese singer Hien Thuc sing songs from her album Moc, as well as murdering Halo by Beyonce. But the best was the dinosaur cartoon and I was disappointed to roll into Danang without seeing the end ! My disappointment was tempered however, as we had the opportunity to take in the amazing coastal scenery which we would have missed if we had travelled by air or road.
After dinner in the hotel, we got up early the next day for what was billed as an ‘eco-tour’, which was supposed to give us an insight into the lives of the local fishermen and the those who live on the river. Unfortunately it was the most ‘touristy’ thing we have ever done and the only disappointing trip of the tour so far.
That said, we nearly fell out of a coracle whilst casting nets ! We also saw some cheesy local reed bamboo origami before we moved back to the shore to try hauling in a big net and practice more net casting. It is fair to say I caught the biggest fish of the day !! Huge !
Our next day in Hội An saw us return to more cultural events with a trip to the Cham ruins in My Son. My Son is a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples which were constructed between the 4th and the 14th century AD by the kings of Champa. The temples are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva.
The My Son temple complex is regarded one of the foremost Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia and is the most important heritage site of this nature in Vietnam It is also the longest inhabited archaeological site in Indochina. Unfortunately, however, a large majority of its architecture was destroyed by US carpet bombing during a single week of the Vietnam War and the large bomb craters remain to this day.
As part of the tour we also got to see a traditional Cham dance ceremony for water carrying. Good skills 🙂
No trip to Hội An would be complete without visiting the historic old town. Old Town Hội An is recognised as an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port. Dating from the 15th to 19th century, its buildings and street plan reflect a unique blend of influences, both indigenous and foreign. Prominent in the old town, is the covered “Japanese Bridge,” dating to the 16th-17th century. It is a lovely place to visit, especially during the day when it is less crowded. At sunset the lanterns come on and the place throngs with people.
As we have been travelling for almost two weeks now we felt that we had earned a day of leisure 🙂 So as we had our own pool we decided that we would just chill and do nothing for a whole day – so that’s exactly what we did. The most strenuous thing I managed was to walk to the mini bar to get a beer ! The weather was great and we had a very lazy day.
That evening we decided to be like the Queen and hold our official Birthday celebrations 🙂 We booked a BBQ on the beach with a personal chef and waiter, and the hotel setup a pagoda for us on the sand and lit a big bonfire. However, the weather at this stage had started to change and whilst it was still dry it had become very windy. Our luck held out right up to the point that the lobster arrived ! Then it rained – and it rained hard ! So armed with what we could carry we legged it across the beach and into the restaurant. (Sue did try to salvage the roses from the table but the vase was too heavy – I went for the wine !). The poor staff did everything they could for us but they had to take the rest of our food into the kitchen and cook in there instead ! We looked quite bedraggled by this stage but it was hysterical and despite our disappointment with the weather, we did laugh about it 🙂
So that marked the end of our Hội An adventure. We checked out of our hotel at 0830 this morning and headed off to the airport for the next stop on our tour. Stay tuned 🙂