Vietnam – Hoi An, 24 December 2004

The day began with a day trip to My Son, some Cham ruins which are marked as a UNESCO world heritage site. On the way there, the bus got stuck enroute, because part of the orad there collapsed, leaving a 1m gap. But with the usual Vietnamese nonchalence, the driver overcame the obstacle shortly.

Before we were led towards the ruins of My Son, we were led to watch a cultural show put up by ethnic Chams. What fascinated me was how the dancers looked as if they just came out of the drapery hanging behind them! And of course, the star of the show was an old man, who could blow the trumpet continuously for at least a whole minute. Fascinating!

Expectations is a terrible thing (or rather, deceptive photography). Due to how My Son was photographed I always imagined the ruins to be much larger in size, but well, the largest standing one was at max only 20m, though it is definitely magnificient when you view it against the backdrop of imposing mountains, which were magical for the Chams. (I think it’s known as Mt. Meru)

Another interesting thing about My Son are the bomb craters, remnants of the American War in Vietnam. War really takes much from everyone, and in this case, the pride of Cham heritage, as many of the temples were shattered, with rampant looting, especially the heads of the gods.

Opting for a more luxurious cruise back to Hoi An rather than a bus ride proved to be wise, as I got a leisurely ride down the quiet river, with friendly Vietnamese waving from the shores. And though I didn’t want to pay to visit the craft villages, it was rather nice to read my novel on the swaying boat in the afternoon.

Evening plans for a Christmas eve meal were dashed by the shock of the news that Steve committed suicide. God bless his soul, though I really really wish to know that it’s otherwise, or perhaps I could have done something to pre-empt that. Maybe he’s not dead? I really hope so.

Traditional Cham Dance.jpg

Cham Performance

Lingga.jpg

Complete Lingga

Reconstruction after Destruction from Vietnam War.jpg

Americans used My Son temples as target practice

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Categories: UNESCO, Vietnam | Tags: | Leave a comment

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