Wednesday, August 9, 2017

August 8 – Trip Planning and Arrival in Hue

Two weeks from today we will be getting on a airplane to come home, so this morning we decided on what exactly we wanted to do with those remaining two weeks and hammered through a flurry of bookings for hotels, busses, trains, planes and boats. We made a “surprise” decision on how to spend our final week that I am pretty excited about, so let’s just say that these final two weeks are going to be action packed.

We got on the bus around 1:30 pm and four hours later arrived in a city called Hue (pronounced “hway”). We came here for one reason – to see the 150 year old Imperial City, which was the crowning achievement of the Nguyen dynasty, who ruled Vietnam for 11 generations, and were eventually tossed out by the French. We had originally planned two nights here, but on the advice of that Polish girl we met in Dalat who had bought 7 kilos of weasel poo coffee, we knocked it back to one as she said the city itself had nothing of interest beyond this single attraction.

First question – would you take advice from a person who bought 7 kilos of weasel poo coffee? No, I thought not. So why did we? Can’t tell you.

We stepped out of our hotel and walked down the street to find an absolutely electrifying atmosphere. There were tons of young people around, many families, many locals and dozens of cool bars and restaurants. It felt like the greatest Friday night party of the year, and it was only Tuesday. It seemed to have Hoi An’s volume of people, but more of the party atmosphere of Siam Reap. We decided on a place called Hot Tuna for dinner and the meal was extraordinary. In fact, Ana declared her meal to be the best she has eaten on the trip thus far, and that is saying something.

After dinner we did a big walk down to – where else? – the night market. Along the way we passed a couple of huge party bars with female DJs up on stages spinning dance tracks and pumping up the crowd. This town was full of cyclos, which are these two passenger rickshaw type vehicles that a single dude pedals you around on, and we must have had a hundred of them pass by us, 96 of which stopped to ask us if we needed a lift. We found the market and explored it for a while, finding a few small treasures, and then we wandered around and came across an embroidery museum. I wasn’t expecting to like it much, as any sort of sewing-related items or situation takes me on a horror ride in time back to when my mom and grandma used to drag me and my brothers to Fabric Land to pick out clothing patterns and material. We didn’t help with picking out patterns, we usually just beat each other with empty cardboard fabric rollers, but when we got tired of that we just stood there bored out of our minds picking our noses and wiping it on the green fabrics. Just ask Marty or Curtis, and man, they will support me on this one. I have still never recovered from this childhood abuse.

Where was I? Oh yes, the embroidery museum. Well, it was awesome. The craftsmanship was stunning and some of the pieces were ten feet wide by five high, which must have taken months or years to create. All of the embroidery pieces were framed and displayed in an art gallery fashion. There were also other works of art in this gallery, but the embroidery really blew me away.

After here we walked back to the hotel, through the rapidly accelerating street party, and called it a night as we wanted to get off to the Imperial City early tomorrow to beat the heat and the crowds.

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