Sunday, January 29, 2012

Vietnam 15: Hoi An, the Japanese Covered Bridge and Street Scenes

Entrance to old covered bridge
by Pa Rock 

There is a beautiful old covered bridge in the heart of Hoi An that was supposedly built by the Japanese 400 years ago.  A little Internet research, however, reveals that the bridge has actually been rebuilt several times during those four centuries.  Also included are a couple of shots taken from inside of an old home that is now being used to showplace ancient crafts and sell hand sewn items to tourists.

Tran give Murphy a history lesson inside of the bridge
View from the covered bridge
Monkey altar inside of bridge
Street view of a couple of food vendors
Looking back toward covered bridge.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Vietnam 14: A Few More Shots of Hoi An

Entrance to a courtyard
by Pa Rock

It seems that I took lots and lots of photos in the historic town of Hoi An.  I am trying to break them up into small drabs with some sense of theme.  Please bear with me as I walk the streets of this remarkable town.

Some Chinese architecture
Clothing shop with living quarters upstairs.
Clothing shop with Chinese lanterns.
Unusual park sculpture
More sculpture in the park.
Entryway to Hokkien Chinese temple.
Artwork in the temple.
More artwork in the temple.
Fountain of fighting dragons in the temple
Government building with Chinese lanterns.

Vietnam 13: Hoi An, the Food Market

The butcher at work!
by Pa Rock

Our next adventure in Hoi An was a walk through the market of Hoi An.  The next few photos concentrate on food.   The smells, the sounds, the excitement!   (If there was ever a time for "scratch and sniff" film, this would have been it!)

Prepared for rain - which never came.
Some veggies.
Tran talks fruits and veggies.
A main thoroughfare in the market

Vietnam 12: Hoi An, the Silk Trade

Thousands of tiny silk worms chow down on
mulberry leaves.
by Pa Rock

After lunch we headed off into the old town part of Hoi An.  One of our first stops was at a silk shop where we saw displays of thousands of very young silk worms eating mulberry leaves, the silk cocoons being spun out into silk thread, silk thread being woven into material, and finished suits, dresses, and lanterns.  The process was enthralling, and the finished products were beautiful!

Silkworm Life Cycle

Silkworm larvae from which silk thread is spun
Lady explaining silk processes
Rug being made on a loom
Silk Chinese lanterns
Silk suits on display
And silk dresses!
Choose your material and style - clothing ready
in 24 hours!
Ladies making garments.
Some more lanterns
More lanterns and rugs
And more clothing!

Vietnam 11: Hoi An, Ancient Town

The restaurant where we had lunch.
by Pa Rock

Hoi An is an ancient town on the coast of central Vietnam located between Marble Mountain and China Beach. It is on the north bank of the Thu Bon river and has served as a seaport for centuries.  It's harbor began to silt up in the last century and today big vessels can no longer reach the town.  Many old industries survive, however.  The town is particularly famous for the manufacture of silk - and making items from the silk such as fine clothing and silk lanterns.  A man can enter a silk shop, be measured for a suit, select the material, and pick up the finished product on the following day.

The Thu Bon River and one of the boats.
We had lunch at at outdoor cafe after our long morning on Marble Mountain, and that was followed by a walking tour of the old town.  Most of the buildings are made of wood, and there is one beautiful old Japanese wooden covered bridge that has been on the same site for a few hundred years - but rebuilt several times over the years.

Archaeology digs indicate that there was a seaport at this location as early as the 2nd century B.C.

Another view of the Thu Bon

Another shot of the Thu Bon and river traffic
Our guide, Tran
The walk along the river.
The ubiquitous motorbikes!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Vietnam 10: More Scenes from Atop Marble Mountain

A refreshment area with souvenirs and drinks
by Pa Rock

Once I felt like we must certainly be on top of the mountain, I was loathe to discover more stairs everywhere I turned.  We stepped into several caverns which were homes to Buddhist shrines, but most were too dark to accommodate my little pocket camera.  Eventually, however, we made it to the absolute top of Marble Mountain.  I was glad to have been able to have made the climb, but it is one adventure that I definitely will not be repeating!

More steps leading into a cavern and shrine
A view of the famous China Beach
From just below the peak of Marble Mountain!
View of the treacherous descent
from the peak.
Murphy wanders into another cavern
Small shrine in a cavern.
A more ornate shrine.
A bit of solace on Marble Mountain.
Some rugged scenery heading down.