I'm Just Here For The Food

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Hue

Truthfully when I got off the bus in Hue, I just wanted to climb back on. The town looked like a dump, and the rain wasn't helping matters. Hoi An seemed like a far off dream at this point, and I just wanted to be transported there. The pain throughout my body, and the cold sweats from just thinking about getting back on the bus, finally made me reconsider. Plus, I only had to stay a night. I needed a bed...and a shower. Walking the streets looking for a place was made ever so enjoyable by the numerous hawkers who constantly pester you to ride their cyclo, or take you to there hotel, where they'll get a commission for bringing you in. I learned to ignore these in Hanoi, but my mood didn't make these people any more bearable. Finally I found a nice little guesthouse that Lonely Planet recommended, and while it looked a little shabby, it did have hot water and a nice balcony overlooking the street. All that for only $5. After washing the bus ride off me, it was time to see what Hue had to offer.

Not much it seemed. Hue isn't a gorgeous city, but since a lot of emperors lived in Hue, the surrounding area had a lot of Tombs and Palaces. Mark and Kate, from my Halong Bay trip had recommended Cafe on Thu Wheels for a good tour of the area, so I headed there after eating some breakfast on the street. Cafe on Thu Wheels is run by Thu, a women whose size is inversely proportional to her presence. Thu is amazing. She's one of those people that you meet that within seconds you would tell her all your darkest secrets if only she would ask. She just draws you in. I booked a tour for the next day, and I would still have time to catch the 2:30 bus out of Hue for Hoi An. Except that the bus was full already. Oh well, I guess it's two nights in Hue.

As I mentioned Hue was home to Numerous Emperors of Vietnam, and across the Perfume River from the city of Hue sits the former Royal Palace, which is a shadow of its former self due to the destruction during the French and American War. Hue lies just on the outskirts of the Demiliterized Zone, and was therefore bombed heavily. Restoration has occurred though, and the walls surrounding the city are still intact. While walking the Forbidden Purple City (which is now mostly ruins and grass), I ran into a guy I met in Hanoi, so we toured around together. Hue was actually starting to grow on me. It helped that the sun had finally come out. The palace was pretty amazing and it was hard to believe that just a few hundred meters away there was a sea of people and motorbikes honking away.

I later met up with Steve for dinner where we went to this restaurant that was built in this huge garden. Once again sheltered form the noise of the city we were able to enjoy a great meal, accompanied by some traditional Vietnamese folk musicians. It was a little touristy, but the food was good, and I was just happy not to be alone on my Birthday.

The next day one of Thu's drivers picked me up at my Hotel, and then proceeded to take me back to Thu's for some breakfast (which wasn't included in the tour price). It's a darn fine racket that lady runs. Coming with me on the tour were a few other people including a guy from Montreal. We then proceeded top leave Hue (Yay!), and follow the perfume river. We got to visit a nice Japanese covered bridge, and then on to the Thein Mu Pagoda. The pagoda is home to over 65 monks, and these were the monks that traveled to Saigon and set themselves on fire. Luckily they don't do that any more, but we did get to hear some great chanting. Supposedly they sometimes chant Bob Marley, but either I didn't recognize it, or it just wasn't done this time. Either way, the chanting was good, and had great beat.

After the Pagoda we once again followed the Perfume River to some Tombs. The best one was the Tomb of Tu Duc, who ruled in the mid 19th century. This guy likes it elaborate that's for sure, since the grounds went on for ever, and was just stunning. I guess it really was what you would expect for an emperor who had 104 concubines, and demanded that his tea be made with the dew that was collected off of the flowers in the morning. The peace and calm of both the pagodas and Tomb areas, was a welcome calm from the noise of the city.

Overall the tour was great, and it was fun to just be on the motorbikes all day. It turned out to be a good choice since a guy I met the next day, had done the boat tour, and said it was a rip off. All in all Hue was nice, not the Jewel of Vietnam, but the countryside more than made up for the city. That being said it was nice to finally board the bus for Hoi An, and luckily this one was only 4 hours.

Labels:

4 Comments:

  • Hi Pete,
    Fun blog and great to know you're having an awesome trip to Vietnam -- looks like you're on the same route as Alyss and me. Bummer about your camera - so you ended up buying one in Hanoi? Where did you go - what type did you buy? Just curious as I was almost replacing my busted camera in Hanoi too! Wierd...Anyways, have a great time, Hoi An is beautiful and take care!

    Later, Emily

    PS. Make sure to eat some spring rolls for me - they're just not the same in Toronto.

    By Blogger Emily, at 2:58 PM  

  • You know, with all the awesome things you're seeing, I find myself most fascinated with your photos of food. I keep looking at them and judging whether or not I would eat it. My guess: I would have lost about 20 lbs by now if I were with you!

    By Blogger Rachel, at 3:34 PM  

  • Hi Peter,

    I just wanted to let you know that I'm really enjoying reading your posts. Have you thought about food/travel-food writing? I think you're good at it.

    Safe travels.
    Eric

    By Blogger eric, at 3:35 PM  

  • So today is the first day I've actually been able to see my Blog sicne landing in Vietnam, so YAY Saigon. So sorry for not responding to any comments.

    Em, I bought another Canon at this shop on Pho Doan. It was one of two places open during Tet. It ended up costing me about $400 for a Cannon Powershot 550, which was a pretty good price. The other place wanted nearly $600. The only badthing is that the warrenty is only good in Vietnam.

    And don't worry about the spring roll eating, I hae them at least once a day.

    By Blogger Peter, at 10:58 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home


www.flickr.com
Border Run piperdown1313's Border Run photoset
www.flickr.com
Koh Chang 2 -Tattoo Bugaloo piperdown1313's Koh Chang 2 -Tattoo Bugaloo photoset
www.flickr.com
Tonsai/Railey piperdown1313's Tonsai/Railey photoset
www.flickr.com
Ao Nang/Islands piperdown1313's Ao Nang/Islands photoset
www.flickr.com
Krabi/Tiger Cave Temple piperdown1313's Krabi/Tiger Cave Temple photoset
www.flickr.com
Bangkok piperdown1313's Bangkok photoset
www.flickr.com
Chiang Mei piperdown1313's Chiang Mei photoset
www.flickr.com
Gibbon Experience piperdown1313's Gibbon Experience photoset
www.flickr.com
Muang Ngoi Neua piperdown1313's Muang Ngoi Neua photoset
www.flickr.com
Lao Cooking Class piperdown1313's Lao Cooking Class photoset
www.flickr.com
Luang Prabang piperdown1313's Luang Prabang photoset
www.flickr.com
Vang Vieng piperdown1313's Vang Vieng photoset
www.flickr.com
Vientiane piperdown1313's Vientiane photoset
www.flickr.com
Siem Reap piperdown1313's Siem Reap photoset
www.flickr.com
Phnom Penh piperdown1313's Phnom Penh photoset
www.flickr.com
Saigon piperdown1313's Saigon photoset
www.flickr.com
Mekong Delta piperdown1313's Mekong Delta photoset
www.flickr.com
Nha Trang piperdown1313's Nha Trang photoset
www.flickr.com
Hoi An piperdown1313's Hoi An photoset
www.flickr.com
Hong Kong piperdown1313's Hong Kong photoset
www.flickr.com
Hanoi piperdown1313's Hanoi photoset
www.flickr.com
Ha Long Bay/ Cat Ba Island piperdown1313's Ha Long Bay/ Cat Ba Island photoset
www.flickr.com
Hue piperdown1313's Hue photoset