After a late night of typing my blog I found it hard to muster up the energy to get out of bed at 7am (I’m supposed to be on holiday). The pair of us walked to the hotel’s restuarant to enjoy a buffet style breakfast, it was ok but nothing special. We then waited at reception for our bus, which would be taking us to My Son. My Son (pronounced meeson) was a 45 minute drive from our hotel, and it’s history (courtesy of a travel app on my iPhone) is as follows…
“My Son is a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temoles constructed between the 4th and the 14th century AD by the kings of Champa (Chiem Thanh in vietnamese). The temples are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva, known under various local names, the most important of which is ‘Bhadresvara'”.
Now, the only reason I used the app to explain what we saw today was because I didn’t find the place all that interesting. I am often annoyed with myself, as sometimes I don’t find the cultural visits that appealing. Today may have been down to any number of these following factors.
1.) It was hot in the Sun’s blistering gaze everytime we stopped to be told the history of the sight.
2.) There were big groups of tourists crowding around the same sight as us, which was annoying.
3.) It was difficult to understand the tour guide at certain points.
4.) Lastly, I was constantly distracted by the occasional passing butterfly.
I am glad when Sarah suggests we do the cultural trips, as sometimes they can be quite fun, but on this day the sight looked like a load of rocks to me. When we first arrived, the tourguide told us he would collect our money to buy the tickets, however, he told us the price had risen from 60,000 to 100,000 dong. Sarah was cautious of this, as she had read in the guide book it was a con used to pocket more money. We told the guide we wanted to buy our own tickets, but soon ate those words and felt bad when we discovered the guide wasn’t lying and actually had to pay the 100, 000 dong. When we got in, we learned My Son was divided into several groups, A through to G. It was quite sad at certain areas as they had been totally destroyed from the bombings during the war in 1969. Group G was currently under construction meaning it was closed off to the public. We read on a sign that it was near collapsing, and if it wasn’t for the Italian restoration team working there, it would have fallen to pieces. We also read the team used the same techniques as the original creators.
This meant instead of using cement to hold the bricks together, they were using a special solution consisting of a heated resin and another product used in the making of tyres. After the guide told us everything he knew, we were given the opportunity to explore the grounds at our own leisure. We were given a generous time limit of 50 minutes, we only needed 20 to look around the remaining grounds. The highlight of the day, for the pair of us, was when we photo bombed of a couples photograph. I think we got away with it, and I hope somewhere out there now the couple are looking through their photos of the day and discover the two mental Brits pulling faces. With time to spare we returned to the coach area and bought some drinks, while we were waiting we saw a poor little monkey chained to a tree. We couldn’t figure out if it was to protect the tourist, or just a tourist attraction, either way we didn’t like it!
The coach left on time, as promised, and seeing as we only paid for a half day trip we were taken back to the hotel via coach, whereas the majority of the group continued on to enjoy a boat ride. When we returned to the hotel we decided to waste some time in our room, until the next shuttle bus would carry us to town. They ran every hour on the hour, the previous day we had recieved a message from our friend Alix. It explained that she was staying at our hotel. When we were walking down the stairs to leave, I noticed a girl with blonde hair passing by. When she turned around, to my surprise, it was the lady herself. She told us she was also heading into town, as the day before she had a dress and coat tailor made and was going back to collect it.
Alix had four days left before she was returning home, so was getting rid of all her excess belongings in order to take back her new clothes. The three of us caught the two o’clock shuttle and ate dinner at the first cafe we came across. During dinner we caught up, and exchanged funny annecdotes, as well as the rare con’s we had been duped by. After food we had to move pretty sharpish as Alix had to pick up her clothes. On the way she told us information about the “Killing Fields,” this was a place in Cambodia we’d soon be visiting. By the sounds of it, it is a true representation of how evil the human race can be.
At the clothing store Alix tried on both items she ordered, unfortunately she wasn’t happy with the way they sat, referring to the dress as a potato sack. She didn’t have long for them to alter it, before having to catch a bus to her next stop. The tailor/seamstress told her it wouldn’t be a problem, and that she could return in half an hours time when the alterations would be complete. We used that time to find a cafe called “Cargo,” this was a place in the Lonely Planet guidebook because of it’s amazing dessert options. It was a little walk away (around 5-10 minutes, but when cakes involved we’d walk 70 miles without a fuss). Alix and I ordered warm brownie with ice cream, and Sarah ordered a chocolate mousse. When I was asked which sauce I wanted, either chocolate or caramel, I asked which was best to which I was told I could have both (if only every choice in this life was that easy).
After finishing both mine, and the last of Sarah’s, we promptly paid up and made our way back to the tailors. This time Alix was very happy with the results of their hard work, she promptly paid and we headed back toward the hotel. It was too late for us to get the returning shuttle, so instead we caught a taxi. The total fare came to just shy of £1, which Alix was kind enough to pay for, and refused to accept our cash when we thrusted it upon her. Her kindness didn’t stop there. When we got inside Alix was generous enough to us her “Southeast Asia on a shoestring” guidebook, meaning we were now covered for the rest of our trip. Just try hustling us now con men. I helped Alix with her bags to the taxi, then Sarah and I wished her well, before giving her a hug and saying our goodbyes. It was then back to the room, where we chilled out for a couple of hours. The only thing that spoiled it was the movie “Beastly,” on the television. That movie is just terrible.
I took some time to phone home and see how mum was doing. She had been very busy decorating their house for christmas. After I saw the winter wonderland at the Howe residents, my mum went on to show me my adorable canine buddy Rocky. He appeared to be happier than ever, I knew I did the right thing by giving him to them when I left. He is living like a king….. or whatever the dog equivalent is. After the call the pair of us caught the 9pm shuttle bus to town for some tea. I wasn’t feeling that hungry so only had an omelette baguette (some might say that’s a big meal, but seeing as every time I order food here I have two dinners, I’d say an omelette was more of a snack).
We took it in turns to go on Facebook and write back to friends, we then paid the bill and caught a taxi home. Initially the driver tried it on by demanding a high amount, but when we arrived the metre read way lower than his ideal figure. We got the price down to a mutual beneficial cost and headed inside. We made our way up the marble stairs back to the room, where we concluded our second night in Hoi An.