Hoi An and My Son, and a late night.
Hoi An Travel Blog› entry 14 of 35 › view all entries
Woke up and told reception about the leaking roof - they gave me the room next door so moved my gear.
Went back to the tour desk and asked if it would be possible to get on a half day trip to My Son. I was told it was too late to get on a group trip but I could pay $12US and go with a Swiss couple on a private tour with a guide. We arranged to meet and leave at 8.30. I didn't realise that their is also a driver - the guide doesn't do this - so it was a bit squeezy with the three of us in the back seat of the car.
There were still visible signs of the flooding that had happened a few weeks before when the area was hit by Typhoon Ketsana. Apparently the water levels rose to 2 metres very quickly - due to hydro dams releasing water as they hadn't emptied any in preparation for the typhoon.
Luckily there was only light rain today - just enough to get you damp. The temples at My Son are not in as good condition as at Ankor Wat - the Champa civilisation dates back to the 4th century so I think some of the buildings were older. The area was also used by the VC during the war and as a result was extensively bombed by the US - only about 20 of 70 buildings remain intact. Bomb craters are visible around the buildings as was holes from helicopter machine gun fire on some of the buildings. We got to watch a short cultural dancing and music display as well.
We returned to the hotel where I had lunch and then walked down to the old town.
Went back to the hotel and ran into Jamie (Adelaide guy) - we agreed to meet for the free coctail at the bar at 6.30. Surprisingly there was hardly anyone at the bar for the cocktail hour. Jamie and the other 2 guys staying in the dorm (Cedric from Belguim and a guy from Alaska), one other lady, and myself. Jamie had a bottle of Bundy which was about a third full so we got some coke (he ventured up the street somewhere to find some ice) and we drank that before going down town for dinner. I was speaking to the lady at the restaurant who said that business was a lot quieter than it usually is at this time of year - I had thought that this was probably the case as apart from Saigon I hadn't seen many westerners around, and even in Saigon they were probably a minority.
We ventured into the old town looking for a bar. I'd seen postcards showing water in the streets and had thought that this was from flooding but near the river the tide had risen and water was over some of the streets. We settled in at a bar and from there along with everyone else moved on to a bar at the beach (I think owned by the same people) - they run a small van/bus to it as it's about 3km away. Jamie, Cedric, and I left there about 3.30 and walked back to the hotel (the yank was picking up). Managed to slip on the curb and took some skin off the knee along the way. When we got to the hotel there was a big steel fence thing pulled across the entry - luckily one of the locals came over and pushed the button to wake the security guard to let us in.