Photographer's Note

When I took out this photo from the box of slides I had no idea what it showed, and no memory of taking it. I could figure out it must have been taken during my trip north from Hoi An to Hué, but I had to consult once again my diary from that journey to Vietnam in November 1993 to find out what this photo shows.

This is from a hilly area south of the large port city of Da Nang called Marble Mountains. I was travelling with two Dutch women who had been staying at the hotel in Hoi An and had wanted somebody to share the cost of the taxi they had rented for the day. Going by public transport would have been virtually impossible, or at least very inconvenient. They had planned a few stops along the way, and this was the first one.

We got off in a small village where practically every house seemed to contain a sculptors workshop. From everywhere there was the sound of chisels hammering on marble, outside every shop were hundreds of small sculptures and other items for sale, and from everywhere dozens of children came running, asking us to buy this and that or offering to guide us up the mountain.

I found them slightly annoying, because they kept following us all the way, forever saying the same things in some kind of English, but they did occasionally show us where to step carefully on the uneven steps hewn into the mountainside.

According to my guide book "In general the kids are good-natured, if extremely persistent". I agree.

During the war the caves of the Marble Mountains were used as a base, including a field hospital, for the National Liberation Front (often known as the Viet Cong) fighting the US troops and the Saigon government. Not far away in Da Nang the US air force had one of its major bases.

The details in this note are almost entirely from my diary. I remembered very well that I was travelling with the Dutch women, and that we saw a famous museum in Da Nang, but the visit to Marble Mountains was totally lost from my memory until I read the diary.

In the WS is a photo from another place where we stopped briefly on our way north. Both photos were scanned from Kodachrome slides.

Here is a larger version.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9495 W: 508 N: 18484] (82036)
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