its a Hoi-An Sandwich with Sleeper-Buses for Buns!
09.12.2008 - 11.12.2008 22 °C
My first sleeper bus...
I dont know what i was expecting, but i was delighted with my little nitch to bed down while the bus honked its merry way down vietnam's spinal cord, National Route 1.
It was like being on the harry potter magic bus, only it wasn't--but it did have your own little bed, shelves, and a crofty-sized bed. Well, almost...I was about one big toe too long for my bunk--but i wasn't complaning... i felt bad for what must have been the German's Basketball Olympic Team behind me. They didn't do any better fitting into their cubbyholes as giant squid might do making a home of a mailbox. They were all extremides and bent vertibray.
so i didn't complane about my numb big toes, or the cheesy movies they played all night long (because the first was Rush Hour 2 and listening to a Vietnamese dub of Chris Tucker is as amusing as Jackie Chan's cross culturally appealing talent that requires no sound...or special effects.
The horn beeped frequently, waking me up at times, but i slept pretty good. I nibbled on a half kilo of tiny oranges, sipped water, and figured out that i have no desire to try any more asian-adored outlandishly flavored potatoe chips; Double Cheese Burger Flavor? is that any different from Regular Cheese Flavor? or Seaweed Flavor, or Cat Fish and Squid Flavor???
Hoi An was still quite far when the sun finally roused the zombie like surreal rows of little happy sleepers and big cramped cloudy red eyed Olympic Basket Ball Athetes from German (or were they Rugby Players, from Austria?)
We boreded another bus around 7am, a regular one this time, and continued a few more hours to Hoi An. Hoi An said hello with a light drizzle of rain, that would continue on and off for the duration of my stay there. I met up with Trevor as arranged at Hop Yen YHA Hostel.
That evening, the 6 in my dorm made friends and went out. There was Sara from England, Andres from Australia, Trevor from US, and Jane also and Ken from Japan. At our restaurent the waitress sang a whole song for our table, just because we asked her too, and we started to get mean to the hockers constantly approaching our table and inturrupting conversations (we took to starting blankly at a few and saying 'no' in unison on a quick count of three from whoever had the best vantage point and timing) We sniffed out some amazing chocolate desserts!
Next day, Sara and Trevor and I rent scooters intending to ride to My Son. Navigation in vietnam is more difficult than ajacent countries i've visted, due in part I think to the lack of english on signs, the unusally unfamilar street/road names, and occasionally, a lack of any signage whatsoever. When my crew was stopped at an intersection peering through the drizzle for a sign indicating that we were still on the right road, a lady stopped and offered for us to follow her. She "lived in marble mountain, and My son is just beyond that" In turned out she took us in an entirly different direction than My Son, ruining our chances of visiting it that day. she owned a marble store of course, and asked us to look in her shop and buy things.
It was a good thing that marble mountain itself is pretty cool, and is, in fact an exceedingly worth spot. Rising straight up from the flat, wet, green earth, just a kilometer infrom the crashing sea a massive column on tree decked marble looms over the landscape. Tis riddled with caves and these caves are full of the mysteries of a deeply faithful buddist population.
Giant Buddah that greets visitors from the eastern enterance.
Some of the roofs of the caves had long since fallen in, and their boulders cleared to great cool stony grottos where long vines mingled with shafts of dense sunlight to penetrate the dark gloamy depths where temples were carved from shear rocks, and buddahs and statues are activily worshiped by locals and pilgrims alike.
A large temple looks out over yawning vistas.
Eek! Don't eat me!
One little cave we went into had the usual statues in the back, and behind those were a little opening up a steep narrow rocky ledge that opened into the air below. Up I climbed and crawled right up and through the center of the mountain til I came out on the very top and [b]here's the photo of the view I took from the top:
That evening trevor showed me some cloths he had made. Hoi An is THE place to get shoes and cloths made. There are a million stores that can do this; it even gets a bit annoying to be pestered everywhere you go to have cloths made. I couldn't think of anything I wanted and wasn't really motivated to have something made "just cos"...but Trevor had such a good experience, and even invited his tailor to join us at dinner.
Queeny was an incredible girl. She spoke perfect english, and was a firecracker spirit in a tiny body. She was clearly too outspoken and opinionated for her vietnamese male counterparts, and she was decidedly in the market for a good western man who could handle and appreciate her wit and good nature. I liked her so much that I set my mind to thinking and soon sketched a diagrame of a dress I wanted, which I created myself. The next morning I gave her my ideas, picked the colors, and took the measurments.
Trevor was feeling less than energetic for the hour long ride out to My Son, so I went alone. It was great to be scootin along, free and clear of the busy city behind me, and finally get to see some vietnamese countryside and small town life. There's nothing like the wind in your hair and sunlight on the backs of your hands, feeling the power of the bike beneithe you, while watching vista after vista slip by like picturesque dream sequences. My Son took almost an hour and a half at the leisurely pace I took, and though I had to turn many times in less than adequate sign conditions, i still found my way with out getting lost.
My Son was practically empty, as most of the tours come in the early morning, and it was 1 pm by the time I arrived. My guide spoke fairly good english and showed me around the older-than-ankor ruins. Unfortunatly, many of them were severaly damaged in the "AMerican War" as its called here, and signs of bomb craters were everywhere, most of the temples reduced to rubble. What was left was beautiful none the less, and a testiment to the originality and creativity of the ancient vietnamese.
I hopped back on ze bike and zipped home before the sun went down. My dress was finished at at was beautiful: photos coming in another blog.
Next coming would be Dalat....can't wait to share it.