South-Central Vietnam

Danang, Hoi An, My Son

November 3, 2002

Weather: high of about 80ºF and rainy in the afternoons.

We are well within the rainy season now.  But the rain seems to only come in the afternoon and evening every day.  Mornings are just overcast.

We had been traveling between cities by bus up until now, but we decide to try the train between Nha Trang and Danang.  And it is lovely.  The scenery is everything from mountains and hills to rivers and rice paddies.  Much of it covered in mist and rain since it is the winter rainy season here.
We can't quite figure out how the water buffalo actually is useful for pulling a plow through the rice paddies when it has four big feet trampling everything before the plow gets a chance to make a single ditch.  But they've been doing it for a long time, so it must work. (You can stop straining your eyes. There are no water buffalo in this picture.)
We don't spend long in Danang, which just seems like a regular commercial hub of a city.  Instead we catch a bus to Hoi An which is an historic seaport with Chinese and Japanese influence.  This is a shop in the old town and those dragons are actually working lanterns.
More lanterns in the old town.  There were plenty of scenic alleys and French colonial buildings, but it is hard not to take pictures of colorful silk lanterns.
Here's a surprise:  more lanterns!  During the full moon festival, electricity is turned off in the old town and all vehicles are banned, so people can walk around listening to the music.  There are also toy lantern boats floating on the river.  But no festival for us, just a power outage.  It is just as well since all the hotels fill up at that time and we aren't making reservations ahead of time.
This is a Japanese covered bridge on the street where we stayed.  I'm not sure what the Japanese were doing here, but the many Chinese merchants who lived here had a big impact on the town.
The old town is just crawling with charming buildings like this one.
On a day trip from Hoi An, we visit a collection of temples at My Son.  The temples were built by the Cham people about the same time that the Angkor Wat temples were built (9th to 12th centuries).  They look quite similar as well since they were both heavily influenced by Indian culture.  This is a scary bamboo bridge that we had to cross to get to the My Son temples.
Here, Julie poses with a symbol of male potency at My Son.

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