Rain, rain and a boring city!

Trip Start Aug 14, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  , Huế,
Monday, October 29, 2012

We arrived in Hue after our first full night on a night bus. It was actually rather nice with a few spare beds and clean blankets. On these night buses, they always get you to take your shoes off at the steps, but you can't tell when the fleece blankets were last washed (on the last trip of 2hrs to Ninh Binh mine had someone's dried phlegm/snot on it - although I swapped it with the bed next to mine before anyone saw)! We were also surprised to see two French couples and their three young children on this bus - not the kind of holiday we'd take children on, but they did love the bus ride as I guess it's a bit like camping. We took a Diazapam each as well and that, combined with a day of cycling before, meant we slept very well apart from the 80's cheese music literally blaring out of the speakers at 6am (an hour and a half before we were due to reach Hue).

As usual touts were waiting for the bus to arrive to offer accommodation, but we managed to get past them and headed towards a little French bakery, that Shane spotted, for a delicious breakfast of tea, fresh orange, a warm baguette with homemade strawberry jam and a yummy pain au chocolat - remnants of French Colonialism and real comfort food (this ended up being our breakfast cafe for the three mornings there).

After eating, we headed towards the river looking for somewhere cheap to stay. Leaving Shane with the bags (as usual) I went off in search of somewhere although it seemed to be a busy road with big hotels. Another tout came along on his motorbike and eventually persuaded me to jump on the back so he could take me to the right area for budget guesthouses and the tourist spot. Something I would never do in England - jump on the back of a bike with a stranger not knowing where he was taking me. I had no money or helmet, but somehow he seemed trustworthy and rode well. And don't worry Mum, he took me to a nice clean guesthouse for 6 a night and then I rode back with him to Shane (where his mate had also appeared) to get our bags. We knew they were either on commission or wanted something else, but we were just pleased to get a ride to the guesthouse and were happy to pay them for that. Although I was a little unnerved when we stopped at the lights and my rider told Shane I was hiding behind him from the police down the road because I didn't have a helmet on (Shane had been given one) and I realised I could be charged twenty dollars as it's illegal not to wear one in Vietnam. Oops! Luckily they didn't spot me and we got to our destination unscathed! They wanted to offer us a motorbike tour (with helmets) but understood we couldn't afford it being away for so long and they would't even accept money for the ride so I was right to trust him after all!

That afternoon Shane took us to Notre Dame (in his words) "It must be good because this was a French colony and it'll be like the one in Paris." After walking for about an hour, and ending up in the 'locals' part of the city, we got to the most ugly, modern and unimpressive church we had seen and we couldn't even find a way in! I don't think we even took a photo, but at least we discovered there was nothing much else in that part of the city to see! Although the sight was not great, Shane managed to navigate us there and back, which for those of you that know him and his lack of sense of direction, is quite a feat - hehe! It was when we were a couple of streets away from our guesthouse that I suddenly realised I didn't have my bag with all my valuables in and that I must have left it where we had lunch. Ten panicked minutes later, my bag and I were reunited at the restaurant and although so far we had preferred the people of Thailand and Laos for their friendliness, that day we could say that the Vietnamese were honest and kind people too!

It rained all evening and the next day, but we headed over to the other side of the river to the Citadel (old part) which is apparently meant to be the main site of the city. We think we must have missed something because other than some old American war planes that had been obtained when the local airport was taken by the Vietnamese, nothing was there to see - especially in the rain!!

It was Halloween on our last night there, but because of the continual rain, we just went for dinner and watched the locals dressed up and howling down the street before we headed back to our room.

We had been told by some people that Hue could've been missed off their Vietnam itinerary and they were most definitely right. Even if it wasn't raining, there is little to do or see in the City. We left the next morning for Hoi An which was only a few hours away so no need for a night bus - yey!
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