Hue: Knee deep in Vietnam

Trip Start Oct 03, 2011
Trip End Dec 25, 2011

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Where I stayed
Noah's Ark
What I did
Water water everywhere

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Sunday, November 6, 2011

We fly into Hue from Hanoi and are again delighted that we don't have to brave a taxi as there's a cheapy cheap airport bus. We're a bit surprised that it's absolutely bucketing it down with rain - but hey, it's bound to be better tomorrow!

Dropped off at the door of our hotel, a security guard employed by the hotel jumps to help us, grabbing our bags - he's so helpful Amy things we're being hustled, but no, it's just a very very friendly place. We hike up to the top floor, and are lulled to sleep (!) by the pounding of the rain on the tin roof.

Monday morning and Michael has an interview with Wellington High School planned via Skype. The hotel is determined to help - they have a headset we can use! But alas, no webcam and the noise from the street is deafening. It's still raining, and when we ask what the forecast is, the receptionist tells us it's the rainy season! Whoops! Guess we didn't read the guide book that thoroughly... Still, we set out armed with a map with a couple of internet cafes marked on. The first one isn't there, the second one can't get a computer with both a mic and a webcam - undeterred, we plough on.... and realise it's actually quite wet. In fact, it's actually quite flooded. In fact, we're actually up to our knees in water. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the internet cafes don't seem to be open, with their equipment unplugged and placed on the highest shelf they can find...

Our panic levels increase as the interview gets closer - Michael had been trying to keep relatively dry, even getting boated across a particularly deep section by some friendly shopkeepers, but as the time gets closer we care less and less how bedraggled we look and more and more that any computer at all would be welcome! Finally, we come across a shop with a helpful owner, microphone and a webcam that is so small it helps make Michael look a little less damp! Hooray! 25 minutes later and Michael is the newest recruit to Wellington High School!

If we thought it had been raining before, it's nothing to it absolutely throwing it down now! To celebrate Michael's job success, we decide to do nothing at all today other than play on the internet and read books. We venture out for a celebratory lunch, wading up to mid-calf. By the time it's time for a celebratory tea, the water is well above the knee and power cuts have started to affect our closest neighbours. Oh dear! Still, it seems novel even to the locals, so we think this is an infrequent occurrence.

The next morning, despite it being fairly dry overnight, it promptly starts to rain again in the morning. We wade out for breakfast and the waters haven't receded at all, with restaurants moving their electrical items onto their tables to get them out of the water. The street sellers offer us raincoat after raincoat - the fact that we both have one on clearly not a dissuading factor. They're probably right, you can never have enough raincoats in this sort of weather!

We decide to head to the Citadel & Imperial Enclosure over the river, home to various past emperors and despite the claims of various drivers offering us a lift, the water is not up to our neck, just a respectable below knee. The palace is pretty impressive, despite having had various bits destroyed by a couple of wars. It's suffering in the rains though, with antique chairs sitting in the murky waters as more rain drips through the holes in the ceilings onto various ancient artifacts... We spend quite a while trying to work out which bits are meant to be underwater as there seems to be a lot of ponds dotted about. Then Amy spots a rat, and Michael spots a snake that someone has conked on the head, and suddenly wading through lots of dirty water isn't as fun as it was a couple of hours ago!

After a bit more wandering around the pretty palace, we decide to check out trains to Hoi An (where it is decidedly less rainy, apparently)... There aren't any, not just because of the flooding which is why most of them are cancelled, but because Hoi An doesn't have a train station, whoops. We are sweet talked into some bus tickets by a charming English speaker who only rips us off by about 50% - result!

We beat a retreat back to the dryness of the hotel, sneaking a ride on a cyclo taxi (Amy's driver wins - I think he wanted to get his wet-trousers on quicker than Michael's driver) and are again grateful that most of our trip so far has been dry.

We probably haven't explored a lot of Hue, but the bits that we have seen and the people we've met have been so kind and helpful that we look forward to seeing more of the Vietnamese in Hoi An.

Lots of love,

Amy and Michael, xxx

PS sorry about the lack of photos, we actually have some salvageable photos of Hoi An (the next stop) which should make that blog a bit more interesting.
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