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My Son Ruins

My Son (pronounced mi-son) is probably
the most unheard temple ruins in Southeast Asia.
It is not Angkor Wat
but these are Hindu temple ruins
after the fall of Champa kingdom.

To make matters worse,
we have the Vietnam war bombing
that wrecked the place.mysonmyson2myson6myson5myson7myson3myson4Today, it stands as a popular destination
for offbeat travellers curious to explore
since it has joined the elite club of
UNESCO World Heritage site.

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mui ne beach

Kite Surfing is one of the main activities in Mui Ne beach
although my interest is actually on, surfing without the kite.
But no, I didn’t get to surf… just swam
in the wide open sea.
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muinebeach11As the waves greeted me with its soft touch
and that distinct rhythmic singing
Asking me to join
and dance to its tunes.
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the path to mui ne beach
is filled with beautiful
paintings on the wall

i liked that there was
a crane and a paper crane
next to each other
muinebeach8muinebeach2muinebeach9Processed with VSCO with a6 presetthe last one is also on instagram
with the quote,
“her life is her art”.

Seventy-Two Hours in Saigon

Visa on Arrival in Saigon (compared to Hanoi) was a crowded affair.
The lines were long and people had to wait for half-an-hour or more to get their visas processed but it is worth the wait.
After stepping outside, I used Uber for the first time (it was downloaded in my phone for long but I had not used it yet). Proved to be quite handy in a foreign country as the driver knew exactly where to drop us off.

Day 1: Saigon is the most popular city in Vietnam and hosts about 10 million people and 8.5 million motorbikes. It is amazing how everyone is in tune with the traffic and its rules. The infamous Notre Dame Cathedral was under construction but the post office was still very grand with Ho Chi Minh looking down on us.

The best part about today was walking around the city. Walked about 13 kilometres getting easily distracted by its wondrous sights and sounds. They say it is only when you walk -you get to smell, see and taste the place.

When we got tired, we sat around turtle park and ate the street food. It looked like a favourite hangout for locals, and the youngsters seemed to be enjoying themselves too.

One of the best things about Vietnam is the food in general. There is so much to eat and if you don’t know what to order, you might just miss on the many varieties of food. But when you have local friends, you actually get to eat the best that the city has to offer.

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Day 2:
Mekong Delta River Run is a popular tourist attraction and I don’t know why we didn’t do this last time around. Probably has to do with the limited time in Ho Chi Minh City but one must get on a boat and ride down the Mekong Delta. It almost feels like you are in some Bond movie cruising down the palm trees with local mafia waiting for you in the other end.


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Day 3: The first half was spent at the Cu Chi Tunnels. These tunnels were used by the Vietnamese to fight American soldiers. They have basically perfected the usage of tunnels in guerrilla warfare as the Americans had no idea where these guys were coming and ambushing and killing them. Our guide was a young girl who had just graduated college and was really good with the information she was telling us. I will write more about her when I do a separate post on this experience.

Towards evening we walked in the Nguyen Hue Walking Street near the People’s Committee Building with the Ho Chi Minh statue. It was apparently a canal during colonial times which has now become a pavement and a wonderful public space. Families, couples, friends and travellers all seem to relish the mood of the street with many vendors and street artists doing their own businesses. There is a mixture of both the old and the new as everyone at one point notices the old building where American journalists apparently used to live, and next the high rise building next to it.

Ekmara Book Festival

bbsbookfair
I like visiting book fairs/ festivals.
I’ve been to a few local, regional ones
but not the kinds where authors are rockstars
Ekmara Book festival was a treat for simple readers like myself.

It felt almost nostalgic to find old books that I loved while growing up.
Hardy Boys was my all time favorite.
I used to ask for Hardy Boys for Christmas,
for my birthday and any pocket money I had,
it went for buying Hardy Boys.
I had an almost full collection of Hardy Boys case files too.bbsbookfair2
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It was nice to see some tribal tales as children’s books.
Ended up buying ten books
for extra luggage on the plane 😉

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hirakud dam

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Known to be one of the first dams built after Nehru’s projection of dams as the “temples of modern India”, Hirakud dam was indeed a modern marvel.
It is a success story although somebody mentioned how 200 villages were displaced and people are still awaiting compensation.Met an anthropologist who has done his research on the  impact of Hirakud among adivasis but haven’t had time to interact much with him. 

The dam is 4.8 kilometers long and there are two minars on two ends of the dam where people can climb and see a bird’s eye view of the dam.
(It only costs two rupees to enter the same)
I got to go to the Jawahar Minar which was inaugurated on 13 January 1957.

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True enough, people come from nearby to see the site that has harnessed their rivers to control floods, irrigate land and produce electricity.

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It has become a wonderful tourist spot with beautiful wide roads and endless sky leading them to view points overseeing the lake that has been created as a result of damming.