Saturday, February 04, 2006

Up North During Tet Festival

Tet Festival - Vietnamese new year! Lots of yellow flowers, late ancestor worship, dancing (to the Spice Girls!), donating photocopied money perhaps to Buddist Gods, smelly burning sticks and after midnight... setting fire to everthing.

I was in Hoi An at the time, which was perfect. It's a very pretty town a little like being inside a postcard. Went a little trigger happy with the camera, am looking forward to posting up those pics. Near there is 'My Son', where ruins a 1000years old were nearly all destroyed 50years ago. There's something strange looking at 1000yr old art full of bullet holes. Lots of bomb craters were there and apparently grazing cows still explode on mines from time to time making the place more and more safe.

Lonely Planet stat - since 1975, 5000 people have been injured or killed in the old DMZ (an area only 5km thick) by remnants of war.

Further north at Hue, there was more evidence of old civilisations and apparently it was all being knocked down until the government saw the tourist potential... now it's all a protected heritage sight. I've helped!

Here, I got to visit the Purple (once) Forbidden City - where only the king and his minions could go. Very impressive (and large) inside - where I saw 2 national sports. The first was Thai Coc Quyen, which is slow motion kung fu; the 2nd was human chess... I don't know how the participants stopped themselves from falling asleep on their feet but one nice touch was that they would have a little kung fu dance as one piece would take another, then someone come on to drag off the dead piece.

1 comment:

Lewis said...

Wow, sounds like you're having a great time! Can't wait to see the photos!