I left my heart to the sappers round Khe Sahn
Trip Start May 14, 2010
9Trip End Jun 19, 2010
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After leaving Hoi An we went to Hue for a couple of days. We caught the reunification express train as we had heard that the section between Hoi An and Hue is the best section and it didn't disappoint, though unfortunately the windows were so grotty that we couldn't get any decent pictures.
Due to the amount of fighting and bombing that Hue has been subjected to over the past 100 years the town itself is not anywhere near as charming or impressive as Hoi An and its main attractions are the Citadel and the Imperial cuisine. The citadel has been badly damaged but I was surprised about how much of it has actually survived, or has been rebuilt. We spent a morning exploring the citadel itself, but by midday the heat was again too much so we opted to head to the markets to escape the sun
Hue is the former imperial capital and famously the emperors used to demand 100 dishes cooked by 100 chefs for their imperial banquets. As a result Hue's cuisine is based around small servings of many different tidbits and over the top presentation. To experience it we ended up going to the largest restaurant in town for dinner. The meal itself was really good, if a bit expensive (you know that you are getting spoilt when $10 mains are extremely expensive), the location was incredible and the service made Gaynor feel a little under dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. However, the most impressive part of the whole meal was the presentation... Each dish was presented immaculately with an extremely detailed miniature stature carved out of different vegetables, Gaynor was pretty keen to keep ordering food just to see the decorations, but as our meal cost us close to 30 times what my first meal in Vietnam cost, we thought better of it. Unfortunately we stupidly left our camera at home so no photos for you.
Yesterday we opted to do a tour of the DMZ
After the tour ended we opted to get dropped of in Dong Ha so we could catch a sleeper bus to our current location Ninh Binh (I haven't seen any hippies yet, will let you know). We were in Dong Ha for around 5 hours waiting for our bus and it is the first place we have been that we appear to be truly foreign, language was a real issue, people called out and waved at us from their balconies, mothers brought their babies and children to come a stare at the strange white people sitting on the street and we attracted a group of children at one point who followed us down the street nervously pointing
So now we have arrived in Ninh Binh, another small town a couple of hours south of Hanoi. We are tired but have had our first shower in 2 days, washed off what feels like an inch of caked on grime and sweat and feel almost like we can face another day. Mercifully though the temperature this far north is a lot more mild.