Day 113, Thursday 26 April 2012, Da Nang – My Son
Once I was secured in my room at the Phi Yen Hotel I pretty much crashed straight away. When I was on the train I was really looking forward to a shower, but after two late nights in a row all I could manage was to flop unceremoniously on the bed where I remained until I awoke, rather groggily at 8.
My plan for Da Nang was to visit My Son as I missed it last time I was here and to catch up with a couple of people from the wedding, however I am stuffed if I can find my Vietnam sim card and I have phone numbers on it…
So, I have decided tdo a trip to My Son and have got a motorbike taxi for a few hours for $25, I could definitely do it more cheaply on my own but I am not riding a bike for 150kms !
Motorbike is definitely the way to see the country, we went pretty slowly so I got to see a lot more than I have done on buses or in cars, we only had one “oh shit” moment when a guy on a motorbike just shot out of a side heading the wrong way into us as we were being passed by a truck – well maybe I had the “oh shit” moment and everyone else just carried on as normal. I did see two guys got knocked off their bikes by side swipe from a passing bus, no one was hurt, thank God, and no one seemed to be too worried. Daily life on the road in Vietnam, if you make it home at the end of the day it’s a good thing.
My Son was a bit of a let down to be honest, maybe my expectations were too high for a site that is quite small and was bombed only forty years ago. Those days around Angkor and Bagan have given me unrealistic expectations for all ancient sites in SE Asia.
On the ride back to the hotel I was comparing the rebuild of Christchurch to the rebuild of Vietnam and have realised I have been very unfair on the historical sites here. The expectation is it will take many many years to rebuild Christchurch city, in a country that has a good economic base and a commitment to rebuilding. After the war Vietnam had no economic base and so much of its infrastructure had been destroyed, the rebuilding of places that are hundreds of years are old were and still are not a priority. Having said that there is a huge amount of construction work in Da Nang, from highways and resorts to houses and historic sites there is work going on everywhere.
My Son is a small cluster of Hindu temples started in the 4th century and active as a site until the 14th. The French started the renovation of the site in the 1930’s and had completed, what appears to be, some good work until hostilities started. The site was heavily bombed by our American cousins during the American war of aggression AKA the Vietnam War.
I found this great cockie in the small museum at the entrance, biggest I have seen that was not on a BBQ 🙂
The trail down from the first temple site just made me think of my lovely Waitakere Ranges at home.
I spent an hour and a half wandering listlessly around, not really in the zone for it today, there was a big tour group there the same time as me and it was very hot.
I stopped for a water or two at the end and found this little beauty.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped briefly at this temple. The wind had really picked up on the way back and we had a couple of good gusts hit the bike.
After a wee lie down I walked a couple of kms to the good old beach side Temple Bar for a pizza and beer, though their internet access was down, which was a bit of a pain as I was going to do a couple of hours of email. I snapped a couple of pics on the walk there and back.
I was back in the hotel with a full belly and zero energy by 6.30 PM, watched a bit of V8 super car racing from Hamilton – wicked, haven’t seen any all season !