Nov.2 – Day 13 – We took our final stroll through Hoi An after coming back from My Son.
My Son, pronounced (Me Son) is a site reminiscent of Ankor Wat. It is a temple complex. It was built over several centuries to worship Hindu Gods. The Buddhists and the Hindus share many temples.
We watched some dancers perform before we took the longish walk up a slight grade to the site. It covers a wide area. There is a shuttle that takes you part of the way.
The ruins were found by the French in the nineteen-thirties while looking for a place to build villas for rich colonists. They saved them, understanding their importance. There are many different buildings scattered in the jungle. However, this area was bombed in the war so many of the buildings were damaged. It is also close to My Lai. There was a trip option for that, but we decided on this instead.
Next the Indians and the Polish came to help rebuild and preserve them along with the Vietnamese. It is well kept and very clean.
Our driver and guide were very competent. We learned a lot form hour female guide about the war and the years after it. We learned what the Northern soldiers had been told about the south. They thought that it was a very poor and unpleasant place to live. They really believed the propaganda that they were told. How could they not with no other sources of information.
We learned about the reeducation camps and what happened in those places. Our guides father was a colonel in the South Vietnamese Army, so you can imagine his fate after the war. He was one of the lucky ones and spent just a few years in prison. Sadly he died shortly after being released. Many spent more than twenty years in prison after the war.
Those in the south suffered terribly at the hands of the North. We all know the story. I learned a lot that I wasn’t taught in America. Perhaps our leaders didn’t know enough about the area’s history to make good decisions back then. I just don’t know.
We found a Vietnamese Opera mask for our collection. It is made of paper mache and painted very colorfully. The store was also a theater for Vietnamese opera. The owner of the store didn’t have a machine for credit cards, so off we went on his motorcycle to his friends store to finish the transaction. With no English spoken, we figured out what we had to do and I was soon riding a motorcycle through the streets of Hoi An with him.
We had pizza in a little place along the river and it was good as was the conversation with the young owner. He spoke fine English and we soon learned a bit about him. These people have a long history of being traders and merchants.
I love this town and those who reside in it. If you ever come this way, you must come to Hoi An.
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