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Published: November 29th 2013
Hue - the Old Capital City of Vietnam. A little bit of a disappointment after Hoi An but we only decided to stay two nights before our last two destinations in Vietnam.
Our journey to Hue was an eventful one! When I bought the bus tickets to get there, I was so proud of myself that I got them at such a cheap price, 80,000 Dong(£2.75). I chatted to the man in the shop for a while and I thought he was giving me a bit of a discount! Little did I know this was going to be the smelliest, most unreliable bus we have got so far! Surprisingly, we were picked up on time but then brought to a shop to wait for ten minutes that turned into more like an hour. When we finally got on the bus, we noticed that the bus was running quite slowly and it sounded like it was hard to change gears. We were told we wouldn't have to make a stop for the toilet as there was one on board. Two hours into the journey we stopped for an apparent toilet break. This was so the bus driver could talk to the
mechanic! There was oil pouring from the engine and it looked like the mechanics were taking the engine apart! A few backpackers, like ourselves, got off the bus and talked about hailing down another bus as it didn't seem likely we would be moving anywhere fast! Stuart and I suddenly saw a small minivan with a Hue sign. Stuart stuck his thumb out and asked the driver if he could spare six seats for us. He accepted (probably because he could make a good bit of money out of us) and we all piled on, squashed inside a miniature van not made for my long legs(well they are long in comparison to most Vietnamese people). Some others ran from the bus to try squeeze on and three lucky people did. The rest had to wait for the next bus to pass!
On the bus, Stuart paid for us both. The bus driver walked up the bus and then turned back to Stuart telling him he gave him a ripped note. The whole bus of Vietnamese broke into laughter and we thought he was pulling a fast one on us! The people we got on the bus with protested that
we definitely gave the correct notes but he didn't believe us. A kind Vietnamese lady ended up paying for us, to which Stuart feels very guilty now! We got to our hotel and I started to sort out the purse, as our notes are always all over the place! Guess what I found...the other half of the ripped note!! Stuart didn't realise he had ripped it as he pulled it out. Shame on us for thinking the bus driver was being dishonest. It makes us sad that we think this, but after being in Thailand we always think someone is trying to con us! We have decided to try and be more trusting.
Our whole stay in Hue was rainy! My favourite! On top of this it was cold, not like Nha Trang where it was still warm even though it was tipping it down! We walked to the Imperial Palace. A lot of the palace had been destroyed for the Vietnamese war which was a shame, you could even see bullet holes in the wall! At the moment, a major reconstruction programme is going into restoring the Imperial Palace for tourist purposes it seems. It wasn't as grand
as the palace we saw in Thailand or the Siem Reap but there were some lovely bits about it.
The next day, we went to Phong Na National Park to see Paradise Cave (Thien Duong). It took us four long hours to get there and four long hours to get back which made it a very long day. It was worth it though as it was the most beautiful cave we have ever seen. The cave was huge! Stalactites hung from the top of the cave and stalagmites rose from the ground. Often the two would meet, forming a massive rock formation. I thought they looked like a mound of jelly fish all piled on top of each other. There were some stalagmites that grew next to the walking platform and I had to touch it! I thought it would be slimy and dirty as they were an orangey, mucky colour. It only felt wet and when I lifted my hands of the rock it was clean, no dirt whatsoever. Again, taking pictures to display the beauty I saw in the cave was hard! The light was sparse within the cave and my camera was finding it difficult to
get a good enough picture. You will just have to believe me about how beautiful it was. We hope one day to go to Son Doong cave, which is the largest cave in the world- just down the road from Paradise Cave. Due to the fact it has only over the last couple of months been open to the public, it is very expensive to go there.
The rest of our stay in Hue has been wet, wet, wet and we have just booked our train ticket out of here to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. When I was buying our tickets from the station, an old lady behind me kept on prodding me in the back and pushing me forward. I don't think she has ever heard of personal space. I didn't want to say anything to her as I am pretty sure she didn't speak any English and my annoyed tone would probably cause an argument. Strange how this would be beyond acceptable in England, but you have got to laugh!
One more week left with Stuart then he is off back to England 😞 Hopefully we will have a lovely sunny week! Fingers crossed!
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