Tuesday, March 8, 2016

2016 Asia Mega Tour - My Son

That is not any child of mine as I have had only daughters. It refers to the ruins at My Son (pronounced Me Sun).

My Son was the religious center of one of the Champa polities that were dominant in the Central and South of modern Vietnam from around the 5th century through the 15th century when they were conquered by the Dai Viet from the Northern part of Vietnam. They were contemporaries of the Khmer and the great Indonesian cultures of the same period. All three of these cultures were Hindu in culture and religion. The Cham however never made the conversion to Buddhism as the Khmer did.

The Cham were a series of individual polities rather than a unified Kingdom. They were a seafaring trading culture with contacts throughout Asia. Polities were typically set up going from coast to inland. On the coast was a port such as what is now the modern city of Hoi An. Then there was a political center further inland and finally there was a religious site even further inland. For a comparison of what I will be showing related to the Cham you might want to check my posts from Cambodia in 2013.

But first a slight interlude:

Our Hotel in Hoi An
A fortifying breakfast of noodle soup

Driving in Vietnam is quite an experience and I was not able to capture much of it on this drive. However here are a few random pictures from on the drive.

And now My Son

A note on construction
There were three building periods for the Cham. The first used wood, the second brick and the last limestone. These ruins are made primarily of brick. They use no mortar. They were fired soft and then rubbed to create an rough surface that would adhere to the other bricks.

These ruins are no where near in as good a condition as those near Siem Reap Cambodia. A big reason for this was destruction to them from American bombing during the Vietnam War (or American War as it is called here). There is a lot of restoration going on. You can tell the new construction because the bricks are yellow.

And now a brief culinary interlude
Our guides from Pooh Lee Shah travel wanted us to experience a real market eating experience.
What do you mean you don't want to eat at the market!

There must be some misunderstanding, we'd love to eat at the market!

One of the local dishes
Cao Lau
It consists of noodles, slices of pork, greens, and some crispy things that I think were fried dough like won ton wrappers, a small amount of broth, and you season it with chile paste and lime juice.
And another Vietnamese omelet

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