My Son (pronounced me-son), according to our tour guide, means “a beautiful mountain.” It’s certainly an appropriate title, given the picturesque setting it was built upon. It was here, walking on the stone path to the ruins, that my brother and I saw the thick, jungle-like landscape of Vietnam that we imagined after watching Magnum: P.I. and Forrest Gump. Dense tropical foliage covered the valleys and mountainsides and surrounded the historical site.
Even with the crowds of tourists, the My Son ruins still felt intimate and personal. I could easily walk around one of the remains and find myself alone where it was so quiet and peaceful, it was like they were whispering a secret no one but I could hear. Bright green leaves and vines are crawling, creeping around the blackened bricks, saturating the dark, solid bricks with colour and life. Some of the ruins have been destroyed by the war and human interference, but many of the bricks still remained in the spot the Champa people laid them to rest hundreds of years ago. I wondered what they were built for, what purpose they had besides their beauty.