About Me

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A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Monday, July 28, 2014

No Fun and Games.

This was tough. I took no photos of the exhibits inside. Not because they were prohibited, but because they were so graphic. As the only American in our group I felt many eyes may have been looking at me, some sympathetically, some accusingly. I was not proud of what we did here. I never served in Viet  Nam, but at that time I fully expected to. And I would have been committed to the task. But again I ask, "please, someone, tell me what the point was!" Communism is/was an alternative economic theory. It was never a threat to us, most particularly in Southeast Asia. Why oh why do we allow our leaders to bullshit us into these things?!

The hour we had for this museum visit was too short. It was also too long.

The tools of our war.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wait! Wait!

Could it be? Why yes, I believe it be! UNESCO World Heritage site #103.

My Son (pronounced "Mee Sohn"). Between the fourth and thirteenth centuries a unique culture which owed its spiritual origins to Indian Hinduism developed on the coast of contemporary Vietnam. This is graphically illustrated by the remains of a series of impressive tower-temples located in a beautiful site that was the religious and political capital of the Champa Kingdom for most of its existence.

In the foreground a couple bomb craters from our war here. Much of My Son was destroyed in the fighting which occurred in 1968.
Currently there is only photo-bombing.

Then I saw some Jeeps left behind from the war. They are prized by many Vietnamese. This particular one belonged to a tourism company and was pimped out.
Were owned by the My Son site organization and were more or less original.

Then fellow traveller Arjen got his ears cleaned out by the same guy who cut my hair yesterday.

To sum up, seven UNESCO World Heritage sites within a thirty day pass through Southeast Asia. Not a bad month!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hue to Hoi An

We boarded our private bus, shades in place for the four hour ride to Hoi An. Minutes later we nearly ate the rear of a dump truck. Our guide went flying, but suffered injury only to his dignity.
Coastal Viet Nam.
Commercial oyster farm.
Fishing village.
Dragon bridge, Da Nang.
China Beach, which the locals call Da Nang Beach, on account of it being in Da Nang and not China.
Da Nang Beach, formerly known as China Beach.
Temple in Hoi An. A UNESCO World Heritage site (#103)

Japan Bridge. Had something to do with two monkeys and two dogs. I don't know.
People were having wedding photos taken all over the place. Just like in the western world the bride's looked fabulous, the grooms like afterthoughts.
Our digs for the next two nights. Phu Thinh Inn. It'll do.
On a whim I got a little trim. This guy was great. He cleaned my ears like he was a surgeon going in for a cochlear implant. He straight-razored my forehead, ears, cheeks, even my eyelids! I was praying not to develop any sudden tics.

Apparently I'm, well, you know...

In a somewhat similar vein, I think this is borderline genius:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Open Flames and Bicycles, a Winning Combination!

I'm reminded of Egon Spengler in "Ghostbusters" with the unlicensed nuclear accelerator strapped on his back.

Hue: Day 2

Spent the day visiting various temples, tombs, a nunnery (very good veg lunch!) and cruising on motorbikes and dragon boats.

We swung by this duck farm, where along with this:
I located the origins of this year's Asian Bird Flu epidemic.
This was the bridge, built in 1776, to a little village where:
I got my fortune read. Although I couldn't understand most of what she said I picked up that I would marry again (a 43 year-old with two kids. OK, it happens.), I would live to the age of 87 and somehow or other I would have grandchildren. I'm thinking the odds of all that coming true have to be astronomical. But, hey, you never know!
Then we visited the tomb of To Duc, a nineteenth century emperor. This complex, along with several others are part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hue.

Pickin' zits, a universal youth activity.

After lunch at a Buddhist convent we cruised the Perfume River, stopping at a pagoda which is part of the UNESCO site.

Alongside the pagoda area was an enormous cemetery. Many of those buried here were victims of our Vietnamese war.
Looking forward to dinner tonight. Tomorrow it's on to Hoi An.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Citadel of Hue: Hell in a Very Small Place

The Citadel of Hue was the stronghold of the Nguyen Dynasty long before the US became involved in Viet Nam. Although the Communist government initially wanted nothing to do with it after their takeover it was later recognized as an important place in history and is being restored.

Of course most Americans know Hue from the Tet Offensive in 1968. Although the US was militarily successful in defeating the offensive the shocking effect of it began to seriously turn the tide of support against the war. The guerrilla is never required to win on the battlefield. His success comes in defeating the will of his enemy.

It is a beautiful area.

What was once a place of death has become a place of respite.