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Hue to Go

VIETNAM | Sunday, 3 June 2007 | Views [850]

Imcense drying on the side of the road, Hue.

Imcense drying on the side of the road, Hue.

After talking to other travellers who said that Hue,the capital of Vietnam before Hanoi, didn't have a huge amount to offer. As such, we gave ourselves a day to 'do Hue'. After nabbing ourselves a 'penthouse suite' with killer views right across the city (read: average room in average hotel on the top floor next to the watertanks) and set out for some food with no real plan for the next day.

Maybe it was fate, but we happened to end up at a cheap-as restaurant where we got yarning to Mr Minh, the very friendly waiter, who also does motorbike tours of the city's sites. We booked in and the next morning our first stop was a cute wee Japanese (covered) bridge. Aparently some dear old spinster with too much folding stuff thought it would be a good idea to build it couple of hundred years ago. The adjacent market was also a laugh with live fish being traded right beside the offal stirfry and nasty home-made cigarettes.

En route to the monastry for our next stop we passed by paddy fields in the throws of being ploughed and resown. The Monks were busy praying and singing when we arrived so we settled into watch before they headed off to take a meditative walk. The Incense village up the road was a staged tourist circus, with one lady surrounded by drying sticks and rice-picker hats. In the quest for a better photo, I stumbled across the real incense industry in a tiny chain-link bounded room down a nearby back street with a dozen women crammed into it.

We avoided the big royal tombs and headed to a smaller one that still boasted some impressive carvings and statues, but after Angkor nothing really compares. We headed back over the Perfume river along a bridge so narrow you thought that your knee caps were about to be smashed off to the National Pagoda. Unfortunately the Pagoda itself is in the middle of a million dollar facelift but we still were able to check out the Austin that the famous monk that burned himself in Saigon drove to his death and some crazy stautes with real hair for moustaches and beards.

After a dead cheap and damn good feed of moodles and fresh spring rolls we dropped in at the Citadel, the old administrative centre of the capital. After a full on morning and with little air movement inside the formidable walls, we spent most of our time here dozing on the grass under a tree.

And that was Hue in a day.

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