Hooray for Hue

Trip Start Oct 16, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Friday, April 16, 2010

So now it is time for Ninh Binh or Ning Bing as it is pronounced in these parts. The predictive text gives Bung Bung which is nearer to the truth which is Dung Dung.
What a disaster of a place it is at the moment - AVOID. In the centre of the country, it used to be the Vietnamese capital and we expected a nice stop. We quickly noticed that it straddled Highway 1 which is like our M1 compressed into two lanes running through the centre of town but that was not the real problem. It was our first brush with Vietnamese communistic central planning - four years ago Bung Bung was a town; it was then upgraded to a city and last year it was designated as a Touristic City. All the weight of government construction projects have been thrown at this town to develop it from a sleepy backwater with temples, pristine jungle national parks and river caves into, well, who knows what. It is now famous for concrete production plants, dust and ear damaging aggregate lorry air horns. Even our rental motorbike couldn't distance ourselves from the convoys of these terrible wagons that just blast everybody out of their way.
No photos from here and even the town specialty of "de" (goat) was not as nice as it should have been.

They don't waste letters over here apart from de, bo is beef, ga is chicken and ca is fish. The fried squid is usually the best choice if you can get over its name (muc) on the menu!

Talking of food we have noticed that the Vietnamese are always eating - they snack all the time and even have a fourth scheduled late night meal just before bed. Where does it all go, they are minuscule with no lumpy bits as opposed to your correspondent who is not losing his lumpy bits at all - maybe it's this free beer that we keep finding.

So we cut short our stay in Bung Bung and climbed on board the overnight bus to Hue pronounced Hway. Now I promised not to go on about the journeys so take a look at the picture I took of Gill making the best of the 1.5 metre Vietnamese bed trying the shut off the uncontrollable karaoke music.

What a difference, Hue was fun. Well it was fun for us not perhaps for the 2,500 "lackeys who owed blood debts" that the VC managed to shoot, club to death or bury alive during the 3 weeks they controlled the imperial palace when the Americans were concentrating their efforts elsewhere.

On our bike again, we managed to visit the more remote tombs, temples and beaches. Now Gill and I give the suspension of these 100 cc bikes a bit of a workout so you can imagine how it felt when we got a puncture. Luckily we were near a nice spa resort and the receptionist spoke English. I needlessly did a nice mime for the international sign for a flat tyre and not only did she guess it in one but told me in perfect English that there was a man to help just 500 metres up the road. The man turned out to be a 10 year old boy with a puncture repair kit. Giving me a ankle high stool to rest on he set about the repair. By the time he finished there were at least ten other lads watching to see how much this grateful westerner would be prepared to shell out.

One then plucked up courage and asked for a lift back to school; fortunately for him I was going back to collect Gill otherwise, as my pillion, he would probably have needed far more courage than he had bargained for.

We are getting a bit fussy about these rental bikes. We now look for two mirrors, two brakes, two tyres and the piece de la resistance a working mileometre to help with the navigation.

Train time to Hoi An and next time I have to own up to being scammed for two bus journeys - and I thought I was such a clever traveller!  

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Gill and Moe on


Sorry not written life is in a manic phase! You sound to be having a great time and loving the country. Continue to do so and look forward to reading your next blog. Will write to gilly 5. Love Gill and Moe xx

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