The short bus ride to Hue (pronounced Hoo-ay) was interesting. Vietnam, as well as other countries in the area, has special “sleeper buses” where, instead of regular seats, there are beds. Sometimes it’s rows of bunk beds along the sides and middle, sometimes every 2nd row of seats are removed and the remaining ones are long, fully reclining-style seats. The bus to Hue was one these the latter types, from Hoi An it was going all the way up to Hanoi. Unfortunately the seats are still really narrow, and moving my left arm above my head would mean the girl sitting next to me would end up with her head in my armpit. The girl sitting next to me turned out to be the same girl that Jody shared a train compartment with from Saigon. Small world.
After several minutes of walking up and down the same street, and ending getting a ride with the a moto taxi, I arrived at the guesthouse. Almost immediately after I arrive Jody suggested we buy our overnight train tickets to Hanoi. After thinking about it for a few minutes I agreed. So we walked to the train station, which was a nice enough walk along the river. On the way back there was a bunch of teenagers who were having an end-of-term party and gave us a balloon I was going to release it off the side of the bridge, but I dropped it off the riverbank path and it popped before going anywhere useful.
One thing I’ve yet to mention about Vietnam is the testimonials book. The restaurant owner from Hoi An had a book of all these people who’d come to his village and said what a wonderful place it was. Many motorcycle tour operators have these too, testimonials from people who’d taken one or several-day tours with individual drivers. One particular cafe in Hue, the aptly-named Cafe on Thu Wheels, takes it one step further, the entire place is covered with testimonials, on the walls, ceilings, etc. We took a tour with them as many of Hue’s landmarks are far from each other. We saw a covered Chinese bridge way out in the countryside and a museum of farm tools, then headed through farmland. On the way we passed a river full of ducks). We also saw an old WWII bunker used in Vietnam war and King Tu Duc’s mausoleum which had some really nice grounds around it. After that we rode to Thien Mu pagoda, a symbol of Hue. The car driven by Thích Quảng Đức, who burned himself to death in his car in Saigon to protest of the repressive government, also remains here. Finally, we saw the Citadel in the heart of Hue, which was mostly destroyed during WWII. It was pretty neat to walk around it, even if much of it was being reconstructed.
Other than that…not much. Hue was a nice city to visit, but not the kind of place I’d want to spend a lot of time in. Fortunately, the next stop was Hanoi, which was my favourite city in Vietnam.
(I was in Hue April 17-19)