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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 158: A busy day in Hué

VIETNAM | Friday, 11 April 2008 | Views [559]

Friday 11th April

I had breakfast at the 'Xuan Trang Cafe' and met my guide for the morning, a young guy called Thu, whose famliy seemed to own the business. We set off on his bike through the morning traffic, leaving town and passing through the countryside which was largely covered in a vast expanse of rice paddy, an impressive picture of production, and another 'food basket' for the Vietnamese nation. As we went along, we saw some very stereotypical images: water buffalo bathing in the river, the large traditional fishing nets raised above the river on poles, people working in the fields (and wearing the ubiquitous conical hat). I certainly had a few photo opportunities out of this.

The first stop was the Thanh Toan bridge, the focal point of an old but still active market town. Although Vietnam is a fast developing country, it retains much of the old-fashioned way of life that exists throughout SE Asia, much of which involves people coming together, interacting in a way that we are no longer familiar with in other parts of the world. Other sites on the trip included a visit to a monastery; a trip to an incense-making village (a blatant tourist trap that didn't interest me in the slightest); views of the Perfume River (a beautiful spot with the infamous 'Hamburger Hill' – the site of a particularly bloody battle during the war – in the distance); and a visit to the tomb of a former Vietnamese emperor (fairly dull to be honest). I was happy to keep it short and sweet, so spent the last five minutes only glancing at an old pagoda before being dropped off outside the guesthouse.

I had some stuff to sort out that afternoon and was determined to look after these chores before I flew to Hanoi the next day. I got most of this list accomplished before returning to the guesthouse to get an early night as I had to be up at 05.00 the next day to catch a flight scheduled to leave at 08.00. It had been a busy day which had left me tired, so I didn't have any troubles getting to sleep that night.


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