Bikes, Buses and Tunnels
Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
82Trip End Sep 01, 2006
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So we left Hoi An having successfully managed not to get any clothes made unlike every other tourist we met and arrived at Hue. The temperature has decreased the further North we've travelled so the socks and sexy anoraks came out against the constant drizzle. As usual we were dropped outside a hotel the bus company wanted us to stay at. This one was cheap and nice so I agreed to stay but in the time it took to walk back downstairs the room was gone and there were only $7 rooms left, no sorry to much for us so off on a moto somewhere else. The driver said $6 room very nice, so once there we are shown the $10 nice rooms first then $8 so again no thanks too much for us and we turn to leave when she says "ok $6 but don't tell anyone else!" We've agreed that many times before
We stayed in the main backpackers area of Hue and opposite our hotel was a little cafe with writing all over the walls and an eccentric Vietnamese owner. She kept shouting and doing fishing mimes trying to 'reel' people in and had a million rhymes like "If you don't go, you'll never know" in the end we agreed to do a half day moto tour of the city the next day along with about 6 other people in the cafe.
The bike tour was really good, the guides amusing and informative and driving through the rice fields with mountains all around and big grey clouds and constant rain only added to the views.I was on the back of a guides bike, and Danny was let loose on his own. The first stop was a 230 year old Japanese bridge designed by a woman to match the one in Hoi An. The best bit though was the old woman outside smiling and talking to me for ages in Vietnamese and me smiling and talking to her in English, neither understanding the other but it didn't seem to matter!
Next the royal tomb of Minh Mang which had very beautiful grounds (as they should have been for the entrance cost) and the hill top tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh
That afternoon we went to the huge moated Citidel in the city centre and walked through the huge gardens, halls and forbidden purple city of the Gia Long Emperor. After a full days cultural sightseeing, beers (30p a bottle) were required and we even found the only club in Hue with new found friends. At 3am Danny tells me that the bus tour of the surrounding area starts at 6am the next day, great! In the morning the alarm fails to go off (partly cos Danny didn't set it) and the phone rings at 6:15 saying we have to leave now, so up, dressed and packed in 5 mins, just remember to collect our passports and onto the bus. As the bus pulls away we realise we forgot to collect the laundry (definitely Danny's fault), and we aren't going back there! We are meeting the bus to Hanoi along the way. After much hassle and calls we manage to arrange for it to be put on the bus from Hanoi before we get on it later, silly tourists.
On the bus tour we went to the much larger Viet Cong tunnels of Vinh Moc which were interesting and far less Clostrophobic than the Cu Chi tunnels even though we were down there for over 20 minutes
On some of these organised tours as well as feeling herded sometimes you also feel uncomfortable. On the way back we stopped at a 'traditional village' which felt very intrusive going into the village and looking at peoples homes with a bus load of people. I wonder what the village gets out of it and if it's money how much? When we arrived Danny and I decided to wait behind with the bus and look at the chickens instead.
On the way to the museum at the Khe Sanh Cobmat Base a bus going the other was stops and out of the boot to my alarm comes my big backpack. Apparently my bag had gone to the Laos border and back with other people from the morning bus tour without me! Thankfully I didn't know so couldn't worry about it until it was back, phew!
Both of us really enjoyed Hue and it was interesting to see the tunnels, religious sites, the Ho Chi Minh Trail and an old American army base
So 13 hours on a bus to Hanoi thankfully the lack of sleep the night before meant we slept all the way!
Take care everyone, we miss you.....