SMART, INTREPID, UNREADABLE!
Trip Start Apr 04, 2008
15Trip End Mar 31, 2009
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Hue has the Pearl River and the city is green, and it's possible to escape the tourist trail. The Citadel across the river is like a big silent park. At #32 Vo Thi Sau on this side of the river is a little store run by a mother and her two sons, and they sell everything at Vietnamese prices. Visit them often.
A LETTER HOME (1)
We've been in Vietnam for almost two months and of the seven cities we've seen so far, Hue stands near the top. Saigon and Nha Trang are still possibilities, but Hue is, by far, the most liveable city we've visited. Saigon is incredibly noisy (but has great food). Nha Trang is just a small town with a beach.
Hue is as far north as we will go. So far we've been to seven cities trying to find a place to live. There are still two towns to go to, Dalat (Central Highlands) and My Tho (Mekong Delta).
We're in in the midst of the bi-annual Hue Cultural Festival (19 countries are participating in song, dance, fashion, art, martial arts, etc.) that runs from June 3 to 11. It's the perfect time of every second year when hotels can raise their rates 40%.
Last night we went to the Chinese pavilion, Japanese and Thai pavilion, and an outdoor stage for Keymotion--a 21 piece band from Boston doing something like jazz. It was all good--the band being most excellent. We'll go see more in a couple of days.
The Festival events take place in the Citadel--the large, walled enclosure that was home to emperors. Now it's a giant green space, peaceful, with many preserved (and restored) residences and gates. Surrounding the Citadel are ordinary houses on narrow streets.
I'm personally hoping we'll live in Hue--it's a big enough town, important culturally, very pretty and well preserved, and has opportunities for study and work.
As I've said, Saigon is fine--but the traffic noise is intense.
Nha Trang is an OK town with a whole bunch of beach partying foreigners.
Phan Thiet and Muine have a lovely beach, but they're small and don't offer much opportunity for study or work.
Quy Nhon has few tourists, but is very small.
Da Nang is the second largest city in the South, but not unlike Omaha (sorry Da Nang and Omaha).
Hoi An is Knott's Berry Farm--"No, I don't want to buy another jar of boysenberry jam!"
The original "North Gate" of the city in Hue (you drive right through it) still stands.