Welcome to Viet Nam
 

 

Vietnam flagPhoto essay:
Vietnam Bicycle Tour: Imperial Roots (Central)

   

Hoi An - Tam Ky (55-110km, 34-108mi). An optional side trip takes us to My Son

Points of interest: My Son (Cham empire royal retreat), Chien Dang Cham Tower and site museum

 
  Song Hoi An (Hoi An River) Leaving Hoi An the route follows the Song Hoi An (Hoi An River).  There is a variety of fishing technologies used in the area. fishing, Song Hoi An (Hoi An River)
  couple fishing from a canoe A couple fishing from a canoe (left).  A rigging (right) probably for fishing, but we never saw it used and never go an explanation of its use.
  Bicycle touring on the non-motorized route, Vietnam Woman bicycles on berm between rice farmsAt times our route took us totally off the road, where we shared the track only with other bicyclists and people walking between farms. Bicycle on bicycle transport, Hoi An
  Cham culture troupe, My Son We were fortunate to arrive at My Son late enough that enough tourist buses had arrived that the Cham culture troupe decided to do a show.  Evidently these don't have a regular schedule. drummer, Cham culture troupe, My Son
  Cham culture troupe, My Son The performance included singing, dancing and playing traditional Cham instruments. The "flute" is a caranai "clarinet".  The ensembles drums are called Paranung and Kinang.  Cham music also uses sets of bronze gongs. Fute, Cham culture troupe, My Son
  dancers, Cham culture troupe, My Son Cham, a Malayo-Polynesian / Malayic language, is official ethnic community in Viet Nam. The Cham maintained a powerful kingdom that dominated the central Vietnamese coast from the 12th to the 17th century.  During this period their businessmen traded throughout Southeast Asia.  dancers, Cham culture troupe, My Son
  dancers, Cham culture troupe, My Son Boats and buffalo carts were their main means of transport and travel.  There primary crop is wet rice.  They are also experienced in gardening and raising livestock and poultry.  Traditionally their written language used the Sanskrit system. dancers, Cham culture troupe, My Son
  dancers, Cham culture troupe, My Son The traditional Cham families are matriarchal.  The brideís family organizes the wedding and the couple lives with the womanís family.  Chamís practice Hindu, Islam and Buddhism, depending upon the region.  Death ritual include both burial and cremation.  Handicrafts are well developed, especially silk textiles and pottery. Austro-Asiatic influences.  
  My Son, World Heritage Site Unfortunately, My Son, now a World Heritage Site, was used as a base by the Viet Cong to attack Danang and other U.S. military instillation along the coast.  Where upon the U.S. military saw fit to bomb the @#$% out of it. My Son, World Heritage Site
  My Son, World Heritage Site  While it is still very interesting, it clearly is degraded from what it would have been if it hadn't been another one of the innocent casualties of war. My Son, World Heritage Site
  Sanskrit script, My Son Our guide explain Cham writing done in Sanskrit script (left).  A not too heavily damaged artifact at the site museum.  The best of the artifacts from My Son are in the Cham museum in Danang. My Son, World Heritage Site
  My Son, World Heritage Site An alter inside a tower (left).  One of the few pieces of US military hardware that we say were at My Son, where US military jeep (right) were used to shuttle visitors from the gate to the archeological site -- a couple miles. US military jeep
  Woman weaving on traditional loom, My Son In a hamlet near My Son uses a traditional loom to make cloths, pillows and purses.  Items she has made are displayed behind her and are for sale.  
  electric transmission lines An increasing common sight around the Vietnam are high voltage electric transmission lines marching across the landscape.  A primary source of electric power is hydroelectric (left).  Taking advantage of solar energy -- and looking a little like solar voltaic panels -- rice paper wraps are baking in the sun (right). Rice paper wraps drying in the sun rice crackers are baking in the sun
  family temple A colorful, ornate, family temple (left).  Tobacco leaf hung to drying (right). Tobacco leaf hung to drying
  Vietnamese scarecrows You can tell that these are Vietnamese scarecrows (left) by their hats.  A combination of education priorities and population pressure are pushing new schools into the rice fields.  Increasingly prime farm land is being turned over to housing and other non-agricultural uses. School in rice field
  drum making drum makingThis couples family business was drum making.  While we watched they were working on the head; pounding on pegs to make it tight and scraping the skin with a sharp blade to make it smooth. drum making
  pig market We passed a couple of pig markets.  At one (left) business was brisk, with new basket of pigs arriving every few minutes and customers arriving about as fast.  At another (right) there wasn't much action but the living conditions were better -- the pigs had air-conditioning from blocks of ice on the top of each basket. pig market
  Trucks filled with cassava, Vietnam A product of the upland farmers in the area is cassava (manioc).  This is a yard full of trucks, all chock full of cassava.  
   Vietnamese bicyclists Generally, the traffic on Highway 1 won't make it my first choice for a place to ride, but it is consistently interesting, and it always felt good when we were share the experience with other cyclists (left).  Frequent esthetic and colorful Buddhist Temples (right) enriched the experience as well. Buddhist Temple
  Buddhist monk performing a ritual at the edge of a farm Buddhist monk performing a ritual at the edge of a farm (left), off the side of the road.  In the past, people were buried on their farms but it is not clear what this ceremony was honoring. A few hundred meters down the road is this billboard extolling the values of the government. Government billboard
  Chien Dang Cham Temple The Chien Dang Cham Temple group was constructed from the 11th to 12th century.  In late 2000 a structural vestige and two sandstone base pillars were found in front of the central tower.  They are suppose to be a Mandapa and Gate Tower (Gopura.)  Sculptural artifacts were collected as well. Chien Dang Cham Temple
  Details of the base of the Cham tower Details of the base of the tower (left) showing dancers and possibly musician with ornate dress and enlarged earlobes.  A Cham language tablet (right) written in Sanskrit script they imported from India and used. Cham language tablet
  Chien Dang Cham Tower site museum Chien Dang Cham Tower and site museum: During the 1989 restoration, archeologists excavated around the temples and discovered hundreds of sculptured artifacts, many of which are now displayed in the site museum. Chien Dang Cham Tower and site museum
  Tam Ky street scene Highway 1 dominates Tam Ky, but away from the highway are quiet residential streets (left) with well stocked neighborhood stores (right) that are pleasant environments to live in. Tam Ky shop
   Tam Ky market Tam Ky market is rich in color and variety of products.  The merchants were disappoint that we were only "window shopping" but they were good natured. Tam Ky market
   Tam Ky market Where twenty years ago bicycles were the dominant form of transportations.  The common wage and affordable Chinese motor bikes means almost every family can own a motorcycle -- some family are now working on number two, three, four and five. Tam Ky motor scooter shop
  Tam Ky flower sellers Any society that can support a whole street of flower vendors has something going right. Tam Ky flower sellers
  Tam Ky flower sellers I am further inspired when all of the flower vendors are bicyclists. Tam Ky flower sellers
   
 

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