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Published: March 31st 2010
heart and soul of Vietnam-centre of Nguyen Kingdom fro 1802 to 1945
CHAPTER 22-HUE-CENTRAL VIETNAM
ARRIVING IN HANOI
On Tuesday -26 January 2010 I left freezing Shanghai and arrived in warm Hanoi- North Vietnam, where I have been before. This time I wanted to see Central Vietnam.
I arrived in Hanoi at 2AM- in the morning!! Getting from Hanoi airport to the hotel area is a real hassle, even in daylight hours, so I decided to catch a local hour flight (only $73 to Central Vietnam at 7AM, the same morning. It would mean trying to sleep at the airport for a few hours, but save two days sitting on a bus.
In all my years of travel I have never had to sleep at an airport, and I figure “How can I call myself a real traveller, if I have never slept at an airport?” According to www.sleepingatairports.com , Hanoi airport is one of the worst to sleep at. I survived playing Santa Clause at a Chinese Primary School; so how hard can it be?
The best part was removing the four layers of clothes from a very cold China and changing into light cotton shirt. Even outside, early morning in Vietnam was not even cold. The airport metal
from near river
benchers where a bit hard, but I now had plenty of warm clothes to make a bit of a padded ’bed’. Anyway, I surprisingly got a few hours sleep along with some other locals.
ARRIVING IN HUE
The first thing when I arrived at my destination was to send all my warm clothes back to Australia by slow boat; then down to exploring. Every day now I am down to short sleeve shirts with great weather, even though cloudy.
The ancient capital is where I stayed a few days. Hue (pronounced “Way”) is a great place for walking, with a fairly new walled city and palace formed by the Nguyen Kingdom (1802 to 1945) with the help of the colonial French. It has a beautiful orginal old citadel with a lot of Chinese influence also. Luckily the Americans didn’t bomb all of it into the ground-just some of it. I have probably taken too many photos (again), because everywhere you turn is unique. Anyway, the photos speak for themselves.
COMPUTERS IN VIETNAM
On my first visit to Vietnam, it seemed that all hotel rooms had their own cable connected internet computers. The hotel lobby computers can be a
Tuong Tu Gate
looking to flag tower and mote
real hassle as are the ’Internet Cafes”. This time I had trouble finding rooms with computers, but one hotel offered to ‘install’ one for me.
It was quite a job. The internet lead goes out the window to downstairs, but all the other chords and leads are way tooo short. Everything must be placed in one and ONLY one position so as everything will stay connected! I would accidentally kick the power chord loose and get disconnected. Also the keyboards were so old that you cannot read the keys and keys often became stuck!
But that is only half the problem. The furniture is tiny. I call it ’dolls-house furniture’. I could not fit my knees under the ‘table’ without removing the draw. They did manage to find me a slightly bigger chair though. There is barely enough room for keyboard and mouse on table and they tend to fall onto the floor. I have sit twisted at an angle to work, especially if I don’t want to kick the power lead out, which I often did!
I thought things were tiny in China, but here I really feel like that guy in “Gulliver’s Travels”, as I keep bumping into
Tuong Tu Gate
tricky dodging bikes as you walk thru gate
things and knocking things over. On buses I am constantly trying to find somewhere to put my knees. Even in toilets I sometimes have to sit sideways, so don’t get me started about that!
I latter found out that a lot of travellers now carry their own computers in their backpacks and use Wifi internet in the hotel rooms. I am not sure that I want to carry mini laptop in my backpack. Maybe I am getting too old…
DAY TRIPS FROM HUE.
In the surrounding hills of Hue are tombs, pagodas and temples, easily accessable by bus. There are again quiet beautiful and different to Hue.
Another day trip involves exploring the recent ‘American war’ as called by the local people. This because we are close to the old border between north and south or the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). It is interesting to see how the war was fought by both sides. There is actually not much sign of the war left, since the Vietnamese recycle everything man-made. The main signs are the after-effects of Agent Orange in the missing rainforest areas and deformed people, even 35 years after the end of the war.
My Son has ruins
from the Cham civilization of the 7th to 15th century and is an easy bus ride for a day trip back further into the past. Unfortunately there is not much left of this area, thanks again to the recant war.
Next stop 4hours further south by bus to the famous town of Hoi An and finally Saigon before home
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