Anthony and Erica on the road to Mandalay 2006 travel blog

Mountain from the De Nang Road

Shrines on Thuy Son

On Marble Mountain

Mountain top temple

Mountain top pagoda

View from the mountain top

Mountain pagoda

Mountain temple

Cool 3D Mosaics

So Typhoon Durian is heading across the South China Seas to Vietnam after killing over a 1,000 people in the Phillipines, so what do I do, jump on a bus and head for the coast. Nice to be on the move again though, one of the things I enjoy most about travelling, the anticipation of what is to come. Perhaps not suprisingly, the weather is looking bad, it is very dark, intermittently raining a lot, and the wind gets stronger and stronger throughout the day. A lot of the roofs are covered in sandbags to keep them on, and the palm trees on the beaches we drove along to get here from Hue are bending over in that way they do on hurricane news reels. Just South of here - where the worst is expected - the army are forcing people to evacuate the coastal areas, and here all the boats have been moved inland. They had a bad typhoon in this area in October that killed some people, so I seem to be just missing them, thankfully.

A good day nevertheless, though it didn't start well. I wasn't suprised that the bus didn't stop at China Beach, as it was meant to, but the whole bus was pissed off when it didn't stop at the Marble Mountains either. But this turned out for the best. The rain put me off walking round my new town, and some caves sounded good and sheltered from the weather, so I got a taxi to the Marble Mountains, specifically one of them called Thuy Son, the water mountain (my element as it happens). It is basically a limestone and marble mountain full of cave temples and covered in pagodas, etc. And I had the whole place to myself in this awesome, wild weather, it was fantastic! So I explored with my torch and strolled and clambered around amongst these hugely atmospheric cave temples and great-looking pavillions and pagodas while the wind howled. Great!

Had a bit of a stroll round Hoi An in the evening. It reminds me a lot of Lijiang in China except smaller. That is, the Old Town is made up of cute old shop-houses, but almost all are converted into art galleries or cafes or handicraft shops. The percentage of toursts (including local ones) to people doing normal life is very high, it feels like it is full of tourists. The first place that has really felt like that so far this trip. Everything is much more expensive too, insted of one pound to get drunk on local beer or have a meal in a restaurant it is two or three. And at least two out of three people are Australians, not that I mind, as I like Australians. The main restaurant street that overlooks the river is also so flooded that everywhere there is shut.

And I am finally booked to fly to Siam Reap (Angkor Wat) on Wednesday afternoon! Though currently planes are grounded and Typhoon Dariun is heading for Cambodia next....

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