Dec 26 (cont'd) - DaNang
For a brief hour, we stop in DaNang, the 4th largest city in
Vietnam and well on its way to becoming an important port city. We visited the
Cham Museum built by the French in 1915 to exhibit Champa sculpture. The
museum illustrates the 1000 years of rule in southern Vietnam by the Kingdom of
Champa and the interconnectivity of Hindu, Buddhism, Shiva and Indian art.
After passing through the Marble Mountains where most of the
villagers are carving rock for sculptures and headstones, we arrive in Hoi An
late in the afternoon at the Riverside Hoi An Hotel. This is the hotel in
which Michael Caine stayed during the filming of The Quiet American.
This is a sleepy fishing and beach town that is known for its
traditional wooden merchant's homes and the existing Chinese Assembly Halls.
We note more western tourists here then we have seen for several weeks and this
trend will continue as we move further south into Vietnam. Because of the
tourist interest, it is one of the more wealthy communities - taxes are assessed
on all goods sold in the town. Dinner was upstairs in the Cargo Club
overlooking the river.
Dec 27, Sat Hoi An Cont'd - Known
for its beaches from Da Nang southward, we caught a glimpse of the tourist beach
area - very windy. We spent the morning walking through the older
districts of Hoi An- consisting of townhouses, galleries, antique and hand-craft
stores, custom silk clothiers, and other commercial establishments.
We watched a traditional folk and dance performance in one of
the stores. We move on to the Japanese Covered Bridge, known to have existed in
the 16th Century, rebuilt many times over the years and today is a landmark of
the town. Inside the bridge's span is a small temple and 4 statues along the
span - 2 monkeys and 2 dogs.
Since we are visiting a month before Tet, many of the
country's community buildings and temples are receiving an annual face lift of
cleaning and repainting. This was the case at the Cantonese Assembly Hall,
dedicated to Quang Cong- Huan dynasty general, with its plant filled
courtyard, decorated with tiled dragons and carp figures.
We visit the merchant house of Phung Hung which has
been in this family for 8 generations Our hostess is the granddaughter of
one of the original family members. It is a traditional 2-story house in
Vietnamese style with some Japanese influence. Merchandise was stored on
the ground floor and living quarters were above. We leave land and take a
boat trip along the Song Thu Bon to see the city by water, including the city market.
The river provides a means of transportation for the
surrounding area. Water taxis of all sizes are common, filled with people,
bicycles and goods (for sale or just purchased).
We visit a local shipbuilder and a furniture craftsman who hand carves ornate
tables and chairs.
We lunch at the White Lantern and then braved the Post
Office to mail an art print (it arrived perfectly) and spent the remainder of the day enjoying the hotel. Dinner that evening was at
The Brothers, located in an old French style building.
On to Mekong