DaNang is an important port city near the center of the long North-South land strip that makes up the country of Vietnam. In fact, it is almost on top of the 17th Parallel which was the DMZ line for the separation of the two Vietnams after the French pulled out in the 1950s. I remember DaNang and Que (about 30 miles away), as major US Air Bases during the War. My best memory was a brazen attack on the DaNang base during the Tet Offensive… Despite suffering heavy losses, this Offensive is seen as a turning point: A realization that the South/USA could not win the war.
Today we opted to visit My Son, and archeological site of the Champa Empire, about 50 miles from DaNang. The Champa ruled south and central Vietnam and Cambodia from the Fourth to the Fourteenth Centuries. My Song was a religious site, with roughly 70 Hindu temples…Most of these were built in the Fourth Century and destroyed by USA bombing during the War. There is only about 30% of the site still standing.
These temples were for the exclusive use of priests and the ruling class. They always included three sections: a courtyard, a gate, and the worship site. The temples were laid out West to East…Pretty good for the Fourth Century !! Also, the building were made with a homemade brick without the use of mortar.
This was a wonderful experience, especially since we kind of came full circle… We had previously visited the Champa temples of Angkor Wat In Cambodia, and the Bagan Temples of Myanmar. A review of these trips can be read by putting the temple names in the Search option.
We were also treated to a performance of Champa dance:
On the way back, we took a route along the coast. Mrs Bear pointed out to me that I had made it to the opposing shore of the Pacific Ocean !!!
A little further along the coast, we passed old helicopter hangers from the USA airbase. The runways have been turned into an area international airport. The irony was that, on the beach side of the road, we passed a Hyatt Regency and an Intercontinental Hotel…Business is Business!!!
One final note…You don’t be want to get into a war with these guys on their home turf!!! While defending themselves or unifying their State, they defeated the Chinese multiple times, the Champa, The Monguls, the French, and the Americans. We’re in good company. The rural lands are still recovering somewhat from dioxin (Agent Orange) and all the land mines have been defused.
The heart with the Vietnamese flag at its center was on a shuttle vehicle… I thought it was a nice find and could be used as we anticipate driving to Hanoi in the morning.