Fellow Travelers and Former Kingdoms

Trip Start Jan 22, 2009
Trip End Mar 19, 2009

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree
Travel the world and the Seven Seas
Everybody is looking for something.......

Song verse from Eurhythmics Sweet Dreams

Sipping a Vietnamese coffee at a Hoi An cafe served well as a proper respite for reflection, reviewing fellow traveler experiences thus far into my journey.
The vibration or energy a lone traveler must transmit seems to attract and resonate with other like souls for those I've conversed with the most have mostly been other independent travelers or the occasional couple.
Their stories and reasons for travel ring familiar: people displaced and disillusioned with modern societies gone wrong, whether they quit their jobs in Quebec and Vancouver or were laid off in New York City. Individuals reevaluating their lives, discovering new ways to live, including living with less. Discovering old ways to live before our personal world became awash in unfulfilling stuff acquired through burgeoning credit. These"everybodies" are looking for something, something better in their lives like happiness and sweet dreams.

An Englishman born for music, continuing a tradition established by his father and father's father. An accomplished guitarist, he lost his way as a young adult, consumed by rage in a blue collar English city that was consumed by rage. Today...no more. A wife that would not follow, ten year marriage over, he lives contented, peaceful  in Thailand learning Buddhism and playing beautiful music with an equally accomplished Thai musician.

An Italian gentleman who teaches meditation and lives half his year in India and the other half in Italy.

A Canadian you bought raw land many years ago on Prince Edward Island, built his own home, became small town postal delivery man, worked as NGO volunteer, is an accomplished drummer, has traveled the world and lives life large.

A Dutchman who balances seasonal housesitting and personal apartment rental for lodging and cash flow until he's ready to get creative, inspired through travel to return home and sculpt.

Then there are the American Vietnam Vets returning to Vietnam, revisitng a land and people they knew long ago during a time of war; today a time of peace. A personal journey for reflection, reconciliation and renewed respect.

Here's our Vietnam history lesson for today. The past century saw numerous countries attempt occupation in Vietnam: France, Japan, France again, America, and a northern border skirmish with China. Even Cambodia's Kmer Rouge government, after devastating their people and countryside, tried to reclaim control of the fertile Mekong Delta once held by their ancestry Angkor Wat Kmer Kingdom centuries ago. All occupation atempts were twarted and unsuccessful.

The question is, do you know who invaded and occupied Vietnam back in the 4th century? A show of hands? Anybody?
Well of course the answer is the Cham people who formed the Champa Kingdom which ruled from the 4th to the 13th century. I believe the phrase "Breakfast of CHAM pions" came from these guys. The Chams origin was India, they introduced Hinduism to the region, traded with Java Kingdoms, saw their power diminished and gradually assimilated into modern Vietnamese society. Their descendants still reside in Vietnam. Now you know.

Not far from Hoi An, inland towards the green mountains resides the remains of a vast Cham city called My Son.
One sunny morning I visited the site and by jumping ahead of the tour groups was able to explore unimpeded, at least for a little awhile. Several of the Cham towers were reduced to rubble thanks to US bombs. You can still see the bomb craters now carpeted in green. Oh well, no worries, they only represented fifteen hundred year old irreplaceable heritage.

To see more of my travel photography, and travel books, please visit www.michaelmcguerty.com
To read more of my traevl writing, and more, please visit www.pecoskid.com
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