On the way back from Angkor Watt we toured through several of the mid Vietnam coastal areas – Cathy was keen to meet up with her friend she had meet in an earlier visit to Hue.
We fly from Siem Reap to Da Nang, I had booked a cheapie hotel, $29 per night, for one night….well we just could not stay there and ended up at the most amazing Hyatt resort about 15minutes north – opulence, it is amazing and putting aside the obvious reservations between haves and have nots, we ended up staying and extra night.
The visit to Hue was highlighted by a dinner with Cathie’s friend, her husband an engineer with little English, but we shared a passion for beer and got along like the proverbial house on fire; a friend of Cathie’s friend came as well who taught in the main school in Hue which resembled Wesley College, she was married to the Professor of Chemistry who had taught the husband and was somewhat of a big wig, so to turn a phrase. There was a cultural performance with beautiful singing and stringed instruments, percussion was by way of castanet type hand held clackers, the singer was just fantastic with who she played these.
My Son is a small area south of the Hoi An and I was keen to see these Charm ruins, and they did not disappoint, the area was in the DMZ and copped its far share of bombs.
Vietnam’s post BC history is as rich and varied as any other country: dynasties, invasions, rebellions, a very uneasy relationship with China and colonization and the eventual expulsion of first the French and then uniting of the country after the civil war known here as the American war. The war, reasons for it, the impact on both sides, the psychological damage to all who were involved is one of the blights on the Western psyche, particularly on the conscripted soldiers. How anyone thought that the Chinese were going to somehow expand down through Vietnam, in hindsight, just had no idea the strength of feeling against the Chinese in Vietnam- all current books that have reference to the South China Sea, even on the map in the plane, have had the word China erased, often simply using a black texta. One thing I have noticed is there does not seem to be any continuing animosity towards the US, at least in the under 40s age group.
Enjoy the show.