Tuesday 29th August
We had another amazing breakfast and by 8am were leaving our hotel to jump on the bus for our My Son tour. As we went down the steps we spotted Sanne and Johan waving from the window and when we sat down infront of them they said they figured this was our posh hotel, hahaha. We laughed about that for a while, and also about how the guys were squished into the seats – clearly made for local people as Javi’s knees were jammed into the back of the seat in front, was funny though.
After 45 minutes we stopped at a cool little shop and people peed and had cokes etc, while I finally bought myself one of the conical hats. The tourguide had already told us it was going to be 37 today and at 9am we were all profusely sweating. So back on the bus for 10 mins and we were at the entry point of My Son and the temple grounds. We all piled off and were pointed to a bridge with two red archways over it, which we crossed. Our bus passed us and stopped about 50ft away from the other end of the bridge, and the tourguide beckoned for us to get on….! It was very confusing – we’d literally walked for five minutes and were back on the bus already – no one understood! But hey, the bus drove up a gravel track for about five minutes and off we got again, this time in a carpark so assuming we’d reached our destination.
Here our tour began. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and told us all the details about the building of the temples and how they set them alight once built to seal the bricks so the insulation is very good. You can see the areas that are original and those that have been restored, the coloration difference is quite obvious. So we went in and around lots of different temples, some 90% destroyed by the Vietnam war, and then he left us to our own devices to go see three more sites of temples. We were slippery with sweat, taking photos together was a laugh coz we didn’t want to touch each other. We also had a giggle with a headless statue.
We then took a jungle path back to the bus and enjoyed having patches of shade on us as it must have been around 40 by now. We were suffering a little, us tourists! The bus took us halfway back and then half of the group got off, us four included. We waved goodbye and walked down a track beside a little village to a tiny concrete dock to wait for our boat. 10 minutes later a big wooden boat arrives and we jump on. No sooner are we seated in the front facing wooden benches with little desks that swing up from the row in front of you, plates of rice, veg and fried tofu were placed in front of us. In these temperatures even if you spend your time not doing much and you feel like you’re not hungry as soon as you put that first chopstickfull in your mouth your appetite comes bouncing back, it’s crazy! We all devoured the grub and then sat back to enjoy the slow cruise along the river through the paddy fields, passing villages, until we arrived at the carpentry village we were visiting. We were led around by the same tourguide very quickly, through about five different shops and workshops. The skill these people have is incredible, they can make absolutely anything and in such a short time. And with amazing detail! They were mostly using simply a chisel and hammer but carving out really intricate designs in front of our eyes. Really impressive stuff.
Anyway we were quickly ushered back to the boat and after taking about fifteen minutes to awkwardly reverse the boat out, we continued on down the river towards Hoi An and the end of the tour. We got off and at the big junction in the road bid farewell to our new friends. We honestly would like to see these two again – it’s not often you meet people on holiday that you genuinely connect with but it our time with these two was so relaxed and nice it’d be good to see them again someday. Hey they’re only in Holland.
So we were back at the hotel by 3pm after what felt like a whole day and I’m sure you can guess what we did for a few hours… yeah, we floated in the pool and refreshed ourselves. Sanne and Johan had mentioned an Italian on the riverbank in the Old Quarter having great pizzas so we went there for dinner and both agreed we’ve never had better! The chef was sweet and came out to see how we liked everything too. We wandered for a bit, Javi bought a hat and we had a quick outside a very nice looking bar. We were entertained by the head waiter who was as fast as lightening to make space for 2 people to eat – he just picked up a ready made table from inside, glasses and all, and ran with it outside. No breakages involved! Skills.
Everything has been early today so when we got back to the hotel it was only early eve so we had a drink and a long drawn out game of pool (which I won [by default]) and now here we are in the hotel room.
Knackered and happy and brown.