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Uncle Markie out and about.

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Thu
10
Oct '19

Trip Report: Early Morning Trip To Mỹ Sơn

Having arrived in Da Nang last night, today is sightseeing day – and it starts EARLY. How early? We need to be downstairs and ready at 5:10AM (I kid you not). We arranged for the hotel to give us some tiny box breakfasts (hard boiled egg, bread, banana, coffee) since we will be missing their breakfast buffet.

We were the first people through the gates when they opened at 6AM.

We were joined by some other early risers, including three Americans doing a semester abroad in Chang Mai, Thailand.

Yes, there was an electric trolley to take us up the hill (thankfully).

And our first ruined temple:

From Wikipedia, here is the description of the ruins:

From the 4th to the 14th century AD, the valley at Mỹ Sơn was a site of religious ceremony for kings of the ruling dynasties of Champa, as well as a burial place for Cham royalty and national heroes. It was closely associated with the nearby Cham cities of Indrapura (Đồng Dương) and Simhapura (Trà Kiệu). At one time, the site encompassed over 70 temples as well as numerous stele bearing historically important inscriptions in Sanskrit and Cham.

We had our own private guide, as did it seems, most of the other groups which is handy since there are the remains of 71 temples in 14 groups.

Here is a sampling of the photos I shot:

I was awed by the column in the above photo – memories of my semester at The Evergreen State College studying the Art History of Ancient Rome and Greece, combined with my first trip overseas at the age of 20 to India and Nepal. I wandered off from the group and stumbled onto this building, which was barred from the front…

But open in the back

Yes, the temples were heavily bombed during the Vietnam war, but more on that later:

Back outside…more and more temples:

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And, as promised, more about the bombing during the Vietnam War (again, courtesy of Wikipedia):

In 1937, French scholars began to restore the temples at Mỹ Sơn. In 1937 and 1938, the main temple known as “A1” and the smaller temples surrounding it were restored. Other major temples were restored between 1939 and 1943. However, many historical buildings were destroyed during the Vietnam War. The area was part of a People’s Army of Vietnam and Viet Cong base area and consequently United States aircraft bombed the region in August 1969. The surrounding area is still rendered dangerous through the presence of unexploded land mines.

Throughout the site, you will see hundreds of bomb craters:

Our walkabout ended up at a “shopping opportunity”, or in my case, a chance to sample some “banana wine”.

I don’t think we will be stocking it at the shop.

We had our driver stop at a mini-market on the way back to the hotel. We had yet to find one near the hotel, and someone (me) was out of booze and mixer.

Even with the stop, we made it back to the hotel before they stopped serving breakfast at 10:30am. SCORE!

Wish I’d know last night that I could have gotten a cocktail in the restaurant!

We have more tours planned for the afternoon, but someone (me) needs a nap!

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