Or, Hoi An, My Son ... and ice skating!
30.01.2014 - 09.04.2014 34 °C
So, it’s been way, way too long and as ever, apologies for that. We’re aware that we’re about to head off on another adventure in a week or so and we haven’t written anything about the last one … so here goes.
Well, Daisy’s gone home and is back in cold and wet Brighton but Tet holiday here meant that Cheryl came to visit again. Tet is the Vietnamese New Year and is the biggest holiday for the local population. Everything shuts down and it’s a time to head home to families as well as a time for flower festivals. In Ho Chi Minh City they don’t do things like this by halves and there are flowers galore. There’s a massive flower market in the park in the centre of town, and the whole of Nguyen Hue street in District 1 is given over to flower displays. It’s very beautiful and extremely colourful.
Straight after Tet we headed for Hoi An and spent a few days exploring the old town and My Son Cham remains. Both places are UNESCO World Heritage sites and each is pretty impressive. Hoi An is very quaint with stunning wooden houses and other buildings and seems to be a throwback to Vietnam about 100 years ago. It’s fantastic. The people are extremely friendly and at night the streets are lit by hundreds of traditional lanterns, making it very endearing and peaceful, despite the crowds. It is quite a backpacker’s haven and there are far too many Jim Morrison t-shirts and people that need a haircut but if you ignore them it’s a great place and one of the best places we’ve been in Vietnam so far.
My Son is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a collection of Cham temples dating from 3rd-13th century. Most of it was bombed to smithereens (good word) by the Americans during the war but there’s still enough remains to make it pretty impressive. It is also in a stunningly beautiful and peaceful valley in the middle of nowhere. It’s just a lovely place to wander around and is very tranquil.
We also spent some time just lounging lazily by the sea, ate some delicious local food and were particularly impressed by the restaurant that prided itself on being “dust-free”. It wasn’t … but the food was good and it was a catchy slogan for their business card.
Since then we’ve had a long term at school. We’ve taken a few pupils to Hanoi again for the MUN conference there and they were as ace as ever. We were very proud of them. Hanoi is a great city but, boy, was it cold. And wet. And grey. We struggled to cope and it was blissful after five days of 20 degree wetness to get back to 30 degree sunshine in HCMC. Oh, and we did go ice skating there which was brilliant. It was the only rink in Vietnam that has proper ice and our Korean students were amazingly good at the skating. The Vietnamese less so. Particularly TD who persuaded us all to go.
On Saturday Joe and Kirsty arrive on a flying visit which is very exciting. Then we’re off to Hue for Easter. Twenty two hours on the train. And we’re also off to Phong Nha National Park to see some impressive caves. I know – you can’t wait. I promise we’ll be more punctual in our deadlines this time.
Missing you all. Love J and J.