I love surprises. Love them. Jonathan knows this about me, and he used this knowledge to plan an amazing day for us while we were in Hoi An.
We were picked up at the hotel at 7:15 am. And we were on the road with a tour. The tour consisted of us and one other couple, Emma and Rick (from the UK and on their honeymoon).
We were driven about an hour to the My Son ruins.
Mỹ Sơn is a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples constructed between the 4th and the 14th century AD by the kings of Champa. The temples are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva. It 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. Mỹ Sơn is perhaps the longest inhabited archaeological site in Indochina, but a large majority of its architecture was destroyed by US carpet bombing during a single week of the Vietnam War.
We got there just as the park was opening and were among the first to tour the area. It’s amazing.
You can see in the pictures the difference in the bricks. The bricks that appear to be crumbling are the ones that were added by Unesco in the 1990s. The ones that look like they’re still in perfect condition are the originals.
What’s a visit to ancient temples without a little playing around?
After we’d walked around for about an hour, there was a traditional Cham song and dance performance that we got to see.
We explored the ruins for about another hour before it was time for the next stage of the tour: a tour of a local market.
(Funny side story – as we were trying to get in to the van to take us from My Son to the market, the driver and the guide got in a big fight. They were screaming at each other and drawing a crowd. Pretty uncomfortable…)
Then we were taken to the boat. On the boat is where we would learn to cook some traditional Vietnamese dishes…after getting a foot massage.
We learned how to make:
Banana Flower Salad
Fresh Spring Rolls
And Seafood Soup
My favorite by far was the Bahn Xeao. It was tasty, and very fun to do the flambé. …Careful Jonathan.
We also learned how to do some more vegetable carving and arranging.
I had a wonderful day, and it was the perfect surprise for me: culture and food. Thanks Jonathan!