I decided I can’t do the tour group thing, when you get herded onto a bus and herded off and told about the photo opportunity, given approximately 5 seconds to capture the image, and that’s if you can get the all the other tourists out the way to get that special shot. So I asked the girl at reception if she knew anybody with a motorbike that could take me out to the My Son ruins, and naturally she did, her brother Bhuoc.
Bhuoc spoke English and knew a bit about the history from school, perfect. We rode off, me wearing my less than adequate helmet, which was more like a hard hat with a strap, the wind kept catching under it causing the strap to choke me. That was okay, we weren’t going fast, I know, I know, spare me the lecture! That’s the last motorbike I jump on the back of, I promise, especially since we witnessed in real time a collision between 2 motorcycles. No one was hurt badly, although I am surprised because the guy that hit the road was not wearing a helmet. He performed an elegant roll down the road and up onto his feet in one motion and off the road. Like a professional. I said to Bhuoc that was the first real accident I had seen in Vietnam, he said it wouldn’t have happened if they had used the horn, never under estimate the power of the horn!
Now it never ceases to amaze me the precision timing for donning the poncho in Vietnam. They rarely get caught out, two spots of rain and Bhuoc had pulled over, poncho’s appeared from some invisible poncho holder on the front of the motorbike and we were sorted, ready for the down pour, which did arrive. Why those two spots of rain? Why not the two I felt 30 minutes ago? This is why I get drenched, I just don’t fully understand my rain drops!
We meandered through villages and even put the motorbike on a boat at one stage to get across the river, arriving at the ruins about an hour later. The ruins had a mystical feel about them, helped by the mist covered jungle and the overcast, gloomy day. There was hardly a tourist in sight, apparently the morning is flooded with tourists. There is barely anything left of the ruins, they were built from the 4th to the 13th century by the Cham People, who were driven out by the Vietnamese coming down from the north. The ruins were forgotten, largely due to there location hidden in the jungle, they eventually suffered the same fate as much of Vietnam during the war, the bomb craters are still visible in the area. They have retained their beauty despite being in state of disrepair. Parts of the ruins have been restored, the original ruins are by far the most beautiful.
Riding back from My Son, Bhouc took a phone call from his wife, she needed him to pick some things up for dinner, so off we went, all over the place really, to buy chilli’s and other ingredients. We got talking about food and Bhuoc told me about the traditional bread that is famous in Hoi An, we stopped of at a food cart and he came back with a baguette filled with all sorts. It was a gift to me, no one should come to Hoi An and not try the traditional bread! I think by bread he meant sandwich. Well I felt quite privileged, and he was right, it was delicious! It was filled with BBQ pork, onion, chilli, cucumber and other stuff that I have no idea what it is, but it sure tasted good! Thanks Bhuoc for an excellent afternoon!
In the evening I jumped on my bike and cycled around old Hoi An, Hoi An is famous for its lanterns and at night they are beautiful. The ancinet part of town has been closed off to motorised traffic, so it’s lovely to cycle around with out the constant beep, beep, beep. Hoi An is hands down my favourite town in Vietnam so far, back on the road tomorrow, I will be sad to leave…