Hue cool...way humid!

Trip Start Oct 10, 2008
Trip End Oct 27, 2008

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

We wake to cooler temps (not cool, just coolER) and much more humidity.

We've come to Hue to see the Citadel & the Vietnamese version of China's Forbidden City.  Since it was built in the 1820s, it's definitely a 'homage' to the Forbidden City.  Since it was bombed during the "American War", it is being restored & rebuilt.  It's lovely in it's crumbled state.  Kind of sad to think it will be tarted up.

We get a little drizzle that stops quickly.  Then we grab a taxi out to one of the Emperor's Tombs.  The Hue countryside it dotted with old tombs, but since our time is limited we pick the most interesting of them: Khai Dinh's tomb.  It looks like a temple at the top of 3 flights of steep stairs and the interior of the Chinese-style building is a beautiful mosaic of tiles.  It's over-the-top spectacular and has a lovely view of the valley and a very large white Buddha statue on a hill across the valley.  It was 12km out of town and our taxi driver was nice enough to wait.

We return to the DMZ cafe to grab a fruit shake and then wander around town until we find a tiny locals place for a plate of noodles and veg while Joe gets a chicken soup.  He's suffering from Hanoi nose....sniffling from the polution.

At 1:30 we pick up a US$4 bus ride to Hoi An...speaking of which...I need to make a hotel later.

OK, it's later.  We couldn't get the cell phone to work again and they didn't respond quickly to my email, so we hopped on the bus that was 15 minutes early.  Odd....everything in this country seems to run 15 minutes early.

The bus ride through the countryside is lovely.  We're on the coast and follow it a bit, go up into the hills, back to the coast.  We take a 30 minute break at a little roadside place where we wander off and take pictures of the bay.  There's a drop off in Danang.  Oddly, some of the oceanfront property in Danang doesn't face the ocean.  It's far enough off the ocean and the road along it that there could be businesses constructed between.

We continue on a little less than an hour to Hoi An.  We're dropped off at a hotel where we are told they will help us get transportation to our hotel.  I ask them to call the Ha An for me and the Ha An says they're full.  The staff at our current spot is doing a hard sell on their dumpy hotel.  Two Kiwi women in their 50s  say to come with them, so we jam our stuff into a taxi and get overcharged to go the short distance to their hotel.  It's not great but it has a room.  It could be a nice hotel, but the need to spiffi it up a bit.

We look for laundry nearby (none found0 as I'm getting close to desperate.  Then we take a walk into the old quarter...which looked a lot closer on the map the hotel gave us.  Oh, well.  We pass some lovely looking old bldgs. in the dark.  The city of Hoi An is a World Heritage City for their architecture.  It looks old, crumbly and lovely. 

We find the Cafe des Artistes on the waterfront.  They have a set menu and you chose seafood, meat or veg and they bring you what they're serving.  It's all delicious VN fare...some of which the staff shows us how to eat (squid on a rice cracker tortilla with sauce, for instance.  It's too much food...even with all the walking, swiming & kayaking I feel like a blimp....but mayabe that's all the tiny VN women around me.

We wander up a couple of blocks and take a taxi back to the hotel & bed.
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