Tuesday, June 4, 2013

History meets Dehydration

Our day started out with an early but short flight from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to our next location, Da Nang.
This kid cracked me up "Dad Pose" at the airport 
 After an hour long flight, we landed in Da Nang. This coastal city was a popular R&R location for soldiers and other military members during the war. The Americans nicknamed the beach “China Beach” and was also used as the basis for the tv show China Beach in the 1980s which focused on the experience of female nurses in the Vietnam War.
The first stop we made was to the Cham Museum which was full of statues from the ancient times of Vietnamese History. They were displayed much like museums in the states display these kinds of artifacts. I would qualify it as an art show, the various statues and relief pieces were installed on columns or the walls depending on the pieces. They were given a very basic label which just said what the piece was in both Vietnamese and English. While one could learn a lot by reading some of the introductory labels and other panels strategically placed around the museum, there were also handouts about the pieces which a visitor could utilize for greater interpretation of the pieces if they desired.

Melissa and I, it was so bright outside you can barely see the top of what we think is a monastery from the second floor of the museum. 

 After spending some time in the museum we headed to Hoi An for lunch, which included a pit stop at the beach and since we were in the Marble Mountain area we also stopped at a marble shop. On the way to the shop we learned that the marble industry is literally ruining the landscape of Vietnam. It is a very popular commodity and in the past 3 years 2 entire mountains have been destroyed.
Da Nang Beach, part of "China Beach" 

Best beach view ever! 

The gorgeous mountains with a partial shot of a marble lion statue 
 Hoi An is known as the cultural heritage town in Vietnam. The government has passed laws and statues to enforce historic preservation of the city, which caters specifically to tourists. After consuming a delicious multi-course lunch (as most of our meals are here) we headed on a 1 ½ hour walk about the city. It was blistering hot and I was not feeling well, but trekked through. We learned that Hoi An was a major port city in Vietnam, and that was apparent through the collision of cultures between Chinese and Japanese. This is very evident through the architectural styles and the town was lovely to stroll through. I just kept focusing on how pretty it was.

This is the Japanese covered bridge it separates the Japanese and Chinese sections of town

Entrance to the Japanese Bridge

 Probably the weirdest part of our day was at the so called "Oldest House in Hoi An." We thought it was going to be your basic tour, and then it turned into a QVC special. We moved from our starting point to a back room where you could purchase embroidered table cloths and napkins. Upstairs our tour continued and so did the selling pitch. We were invited to "tea" where a woman proceeded to try and sell us coasters, other odds and ends, and the best was the opium pipe. We all were a bit uncomfortable, and I gave a small donation so that I didn't seem like a total jerk. It was hilarious.

Interior of the oldest house in Hoi An 

A fisherman, when the tide comes up he lowers a giant net into the water and then back up in the hopes of catching some fish, it was fascinating to watch.

We then checked into our hotel which ended up being a lovely resort. What a surprise! Melissa and I could barely contain ourselves. After an exhausting and very hot day we were in a beautiful relaxing resort with a spa! We had free time so we decided to go get manicures. After a nap we headed into town for dinner which was entirely to delicious. I had lost a lot of electrolytes that day so I drank an entire coconut which fun fact has loads of natural electrolytes. A cautionary tale for anyone traveling to Vietnam during the summer months it is brutally hot and humid thus very very easy to become dehydrated so water is key to survival.

Manicure View 

The Coconut! Yay for electrolytes