My Son. That was our goal for the day. We had mentioned to our hosts that we wanted to rent a bike for the day to go out there. They had never been, but they could get us the bike. This morning the bike had already turned up, but he couldn’t get into it. The compartment under the seat where you can store some stuff, had the helmets and fuel tank. Neither our host or I could work it out, so he called the guy that supplied the bike. He came round and showed us. You have to switch the bike on, then back off to flick it open. That sorted I hopped on and had a spin to the fuel station. It wasnt too bad. Riding a bike is a bit like riding a bike. You never completely forget how to do it. However the traffic was another thing. At least it wasnt too bad. I wouldn’t want to have done it in HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City), but there is a lot less traffic here, and a lot more laid back.
Following the guy to the fuel station was good though, as it let me get back in the swing of things. Fuel is 22k here. Just over US$1. Expensive for the locals, but compared to $2 at Mimili, who can complain? Well, I can I suppose, but I wont.
Drove back, and picked up Anna. We would double on the one bike. I was a bit nervous about this, as the last time I was on a bike, i broke three bones in my foot, so I really didn’t want anything to happen. I needn’t have feared. After adjusting our balance, we were off. Out of town, with very rough directions on how to get to My Son. It could have been worse, we may have had no directions. As it was we did take one wrong turn, but picked up on it within 500m
Traveling through the next town and into the countryside, we decided to stop at a street stall, where a stooped, little old lady ran the joint. We ordered coffee, and made eating gestures. This was interpreted as we had noticed her missing tooth. She gave Anna a wide grin and pointed to the spot where the tooth should have been! The english had run out about 20km ago as soon as we had left tourist town. After her working out what we wanted, we were served the best noodle soup we had eaten (and eaten to date 4/7/11). She was as happy as larry about it. I think it will be the talk of the village for the next month. Two white people turn up and eat at a place in the middle of nowhere.
The rest of the trip to My Son was uneventful, until we were almost there, and people started yelling at us to stop. The first time was to buy this trinket, the second was to park the bike before entering the temple complex. It turned out that it was about 1km from the ticket office, and you could drive the next couple of km to the complex. Went back for the bike. I was blowed if i was going to pay to park my bike so far away.
Following the path way up to the complex, past tour busses and jeeps going 500km/h along a badly paved goat track, we made it to the start of the complex alive. A bit out of breath, but easily caught. There was a restaurant there, with a map of the complex. Listing all the temple complexes. A through to J. Time to start walking.
The track wasnt too bad as we made our way up to the biggest part of the complex, and the one that survived American bombing the best. (Apparently the most spectacular part of the complex got bombed into non existence, as the VC had set up a base here)
There were quite a few complexes made out of brick, with carvings around the outside, lots of limestone alters. There are two parts to the alters a phallic part that is hexagon base, square middle, and round top called a linga. The other part of the altar is female or yoni. It is square with a cavity in the middle to hold liquid with a spout out the middle of one side. The buildings are build up like a hollow pyramid. With the bricks funneling up to an opening at the top. It made the buildings quite cool.
Walking through the complex we came across a spiderweb covered building that had collapsed in the middle. Looking around, I found a very silky hole, and looked in. There was the biggest tarantula I had ever seen. I managed to get a good photo to show Anna, as she wouldn’t go near it. I swear she jumped a foot into the air, and the scream of horror would have had the guards running if there had been any!
Back at the restaurant, we decided to have a couple of ice creams. It was needed after the long trek through the jungle we had just completed. It was just our luck. I got Durian flavored, and Anna had rice flavored ice creams. Completely inedible, but We did have to try them though.
On the way back, we passed the Cham Museum. The Cham are the people who built My Son. It was a large two-story hall, with no air-conditioning. For some reason we ended up getting a guided tour. The girl was pretty good, but her accent was rather thick, and I think we learnt more by reading the labels. By the end of it, Anna and I were literally dripping with sweat, yet she didn’t even have the slightest sheen on her. I was quite annoyed by that. However we learnt that My Son was pre Angkor, and that there were sites all up the river.
On the way home, we went looking for a pottery village. We passed a big sign saying that there was a village coming soon. However we went for a spin looking for the original village. We found one shop, and a dead-end. People were looking at us going WTF? why are two white people here? And politely told that we had taken a wrong turn and leave.
The rest of the afternoon was taken up looking for a fishing village on the other side of town. This was just as adventurous. We were on dirt roads, crossing over dykes, with a one person track, passing bikes, and wagons, with the river on one side, and a weird plant growing on the other side. We came across sections later where they had cut the stems of the wide leaves, and were drying them on the side of the road. Other places were weaving them into thatch squares.
We stopped for fuel. Both the bike and us. It was a beautiful little restaurant, with a nice wooden outdoor setting, lanterns and a relaxed atmosphere. We were a bit too early for dinner, but no Vietnamese person will turn down a sale, so we ended up with two random dishes that were absolutely fantastic.
On the drive home we ended up with a flat tyre, but passed it off as just happening. Which it had. Luckily, as it could have been interesting cruising down the road.
That’s about it for today.