Vietnamese kangaroos

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Jun 18, 2011

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Saturday, May 28, 2011

After almost a week in the town of Hoi An it was time for us to leave and head on to our next destination of Hue (pronounced like the English word 'way'). Hue is only a short trip up the coast however our bus decided to take us for a couple of stops at different cafes, souvenir shops and pottery studios so it actually took us over 4 hours to do a 2 hour journey because we kept on stopping all the time. Once we had finally arrived in Hue we wandered along to our hotel and got checked-in; our room was really nice, in fact, we have been spoilt with great accommodation in Vietnam and our standards have definitely been getting higher. On the way to the hotel I had noticed a nice little hairdressers and considering that my hair has now gone a very lovely yellowy-green colour after so much sun-damage I decided it was time to get the chop. So I ended up getting my hair cut into a bob by the most amazing hairdresser; he was like a Vietnamese Nicky Clarke and considering that he didn’t speak any English and I don’t speak any Vietnamese I was ecstatic with the final result. I can’t remember that last time I felt so glamorous and I practically floated back to the hotel, swishing my hair as I went.

One of the first things we noticed about Hue is that the touts here are hard-core. From the second we got off the bus we were bombarded by touts trying to sell us everything from motorbikes, water, bracelets, hats, drugs and hotel rooms. Even the manager at our hotel was heavy-duty and didn’t stop hasseling us about booking onto a guided tour of the city during our entire stay, so much so that in the end we were starting to get really hacked off at him. It probably sounds like a really minor thing but after a while the touting becomes a bit much, especially when you get touted 20 times in the space of 5 minutes and sometimes it upsets Tom a lot as he is always the target of every tout because they think he is just a rich white man. I understand that the touts in Hue were only being so heavy because it is the low season and they are really struggling for customers, but it made us feel really uncomfortable and unfortunately marred our time in Hue. Having said this we did find a really nice little café which became our favourite place to eat and we returned there every night for dinner and the amazing Vietnamese coffee. We became friends with the waitresses and when we saw a huge rat running down the road one night we had fits of giggles when they tricked a fellow customer into thinking that it wasn’t actually a rat….it was a Vietnamese kangaroo. The customer fell for their joke and we had to try really hard not to laugh when they said ‘I didn’t know there were kangaroos in Vietnam’!  

Hue is considered the historical heart of Vietnam; before the Emperor was forced to give up his crown in 1945 by the Communist Party, Hue was Vietnam’s capital and home to the Emperor and his family. The Emperor lived in a huge complex called a citadel, most of which still stands today despite being heavily bombed during the war and is visited by countless tourists every year. So on our second day in Hue we headed off to the citadel for a look around. The shape of the citadel is kind of like squares within squares, with the smallest square in the middle being reserved for the Emperor and his family, this area is called the Forbidden Purple City and we were really excited to get into such a secretive space. The citadel is like a city within a city and is absolutely huge! It was really exciting to see the insides of the coronation temples and pagodas but it was strange to think that we were exploring areas which were traditionally off-limits to all but the most important and high-ranking of Vietnamese officials. At one point we were walking through the gardens when we came face to face with two giant elephants, complete with huge ivory tusks, wandering through the grass! For a second or two I thought I was hallucinating, but it turns out you can pay to ride the elephants through the citadel just like the Emperor used to. When it came time for us to enter the Forbidden Purple Palace we were really sad to see that most of the grounds had been destroyed by bombs during the War. As we were looking around we got chatting to two really sweet American amateur photographers who showed us some of their work; they were fantastic photographers and we ended up talking to them for ages and exchanging travel-stories (here’s the website of one of them, have a look it’s great:

Over the next few days we started to get ourselves organized for our month in China; we are trying to learn some basic Mandarin Chinese (which is pretty much the most difficult language ever conceived) but we aren’t doing too badly and can say a couple of words. We have also devised a time-schedule of our time in China and are trying to make the most of our time there whilst also remembering that we can’t travel as fast as we used to anymore because we are starting to reach the end of our traveling limit now. We think we have managed to strike a nice balance but we won’t know for sure until we get to China and re-evaluate our surroundings and how we are feeling. Having said all this, by the time we left Hue a few days later we were so incredibly excited about our time in China we cannot wait to get there. I think we will need some Energiser batteries to keep us going though because we are going to have tons of stuff to do.  Warning: I think the blog is going to be very busy during our month in China, I hope you’re all ready!  
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rach on

whoooooo woman , best ever hairdresser hay ...............well thanks a bunch matey lol it looks lovely and you both are lookin sooooo much better xx the pic of the pool that real money floating about in there ? i loved the pix of toms bday ,the food looked amazing ,did u try a chicken head hayley ? and tom heve you worn your swanky new tie yet ?? i can just see you now with your sandles shorts and tshirt swankin it round town at night lol xx i carnt believe your travels are coming to a end next month , its gone so fast ,and i have loved every blog and pic that you have posted on here ! i took my laptop away with us so i could check in everyday but i coundnt get a signal,i was gutted , but was so glad when we got home and you hadnt wrote anything !!! lots alove to you both as allways ,miss you both but not long now till your home ! yippeeeee
ps .you can never write to many blogs ........................bring em on , im ready and waiting xxx

tomandhayley on

I said he was the best MALE hairdresser ever.... your still my favourite tho! He cut the whole thing with a razor blade and it took 3 people to blow-dry my hair, I dont think they had ever seen anyone with hair as thick as mine before because asian women have such thin, fair hair! Tom hasnt worn his tie yet, he did actually want to wear it for the meal and I had to beg him not to... that would have been embaressing no matter what country we are in ;) Can't beleieve you took your laptop on holiday, you can't even get phone signal in duffrin never mind wifi! Was talking to mum last night and she told me that everyone got sunburnt except for you... she said you were the only one that is still pale and pasty :) We are flying to china tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow is also the one month countdown until we get home... arrrgh!! OMG! We cant stop talking about home and all the things we have done so far... every now and then I turn to Tom and I say things like 'wow i know how to ride a motorboke now'! Speak soon, love you loads and loads xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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