Edit Blog Post
Published: March 30th 2014
Bun Bo Hue'
Or 'Noodle Soup made in the style of Hue'. Spicier than Pho with sliced beef filets. It's not soup. It's a meal! And check out Karlie swinging chopsticks like a Pro.
When our 'Driver' forced his way between a group of cone hatted Vietnamese female pedestrians, nearly swiping one of them, Karen and Karlie let go with a cry and I told the driver to get us into nearby Hue' and leave us there. Our long planned return to the Ashau had not panned out as we had hoped. On our last trip to Vietnam we had been mesmerized during a tour of the beautiful Ashau Valley and so when we knew we were coming back we looked forward to revisiting the spot. An American acquaintance of ours who lives in Danang told us that he could arrange for car rental and would act as our guide/ driver. We agreed. Silly us. We planned on a six day trip and in the end we barely completed two. Double passing cars and scooters at high speeds, incessantly laying on the horn, threatening small children who had the audacity to touch my rental car (!?) and his bizarre inability to avoid hitting pot holes and road hazards soon had Karen, Karlie and I wondering if we had wandered into some Kafkaesque universe or into Dante's version of SE Asia. Pleas to slow down fell
on deaf ears. In Hue' I paid off the reprobate driver at the full rate, never saw a dime back for the unused portion and counted myself lucky to have gotten off without injury to either the girls or myself. It was an interesting two days. And so, we now found ourselves standing with our bags in hand in one of Vietnam's greatest cities.
It's sometimes dreary in Hue'. Most days are gray and misty. When the wind picks up it gets a little drizzly and an umbrella can come in handy. It's a Vietnamese version of Seattle without the traffic problems. And still Karen and I continue to come back here. Eight times now and we're always sorry when we have to leave. Hate to give up the marvelous food that Hue' is known for and the friendly people we meet everywhere. Sorry not to be able to gaze upon the Perfume River anymore or the bridge across it that glows in Kaleidoscopic colors in the evening while little Dragon boats ply the still, black waters. We miss the raucous goings on at the DMZ bar and all of the bicycle riding students going to and from University.
Their days are numbered as the Vietnamese government actively tries to keep new ones off of the street because they slow traffic down.
The girls dressed in beautiful white Ao Dais, their tunics fluttering out behind them like silken kite tails. We pine for the morning market chaos where we go to buy fresh tangerines and watermelons while all around us people sell everything from sides of beef to fresh honey still sealed in the combs. We miss our Cyclo rides back from the market where we sit like Mandarins while all of Hue passes by us as we slowly cruise the wide, French-designed boulevards.
The Perfume River bisects the city into North and South. Dominating the north side is the Citadel. Once home to Vietnam's emperors it is now a reminder of times long past. Of robed Mandarins standing over the Zenith Gate and of US Marines assaulting the same during the Tet fighting in 1968. The Citadel is open to visitors at a cost of $5 US. Bombed to ruin by US forces in 1969 it is now partially reconstructed and crews continue the work even today. Mortise and tenon joinery covered in dozens of coats of Chinese Red lacquer. There is a Vietnamese war museum nearby that holds a cast-off collection of old US and Russian equipment used during
the Vietnam War. All of it sitting outside, exposed to the elements and rusting away. Inside the museum are a series of exhibits telling the story of the North Vietnamese wars against the French and the Americans. In a small glass case sits a stack of old US Military ID cards. There are about a dozen. I photographed them and Googled the names and service numbers. Some of them were confirmed KIA's. Others are still alive and one; Cpt. John T. McDonnell is a confirmed MIA. Turned up missing outside Hue' when his Cobra gunship was shot down on March 6th, 1969. I do know that a number of people are aware of its existence although nobody has gotten to the bottom of the story. The museum's historian could only tell me that the cards were donated to the museum by VC militia and NVA soldiers. Read the military MIA report here: http://www.vhpa.org/KIA/incident/69030619KIA.HTM
We spent eight wonderful days in Hue'. Ate too much good food. Re-visited old friends and caught up on their lives. I stocked up on those Vietnamese silk shirts I favor. $12 each and they last forever which makes me wonder why I keep buying them.
Xuan Trung Restaurant
The best place to eat in Hue'. Regional specialties, Vietnamese and western foods at low price. Family run operation. Here I pose with Mom, son and daughter.
I'm wearing one now that I bought six years ago and there isn't a thread missing. Washes up in the bathroom sink and drip dries in an hour. A vacationer's dream. I tried to get Karlie to get one for her Dad but she said that he won't wear shirts that have pockets without flaps. Must be a Virginian peccadillo. Karen and Karlie added to their 'Happy' pants collections. Don't ask. We stayed at the Phuong Hotel just off the main drag on a quiet lane. We've stayed there 6 times now. $20 a night for 3 people with breakfast included. For reviews and details on all of our hotels and restaurants go to: http://www.tripadvisor.com/members-reviews/N0ahsdad
Shouts out to Ila Denson; Hope things are returning to a semblance of normality for you. David Richards: My Bro! Thinking of you every day. Markus Ott: I miss Germany's weather Markus. What I wouldn't give for a cool day now! To Jane and Brad; Thanks for the pic of the house. Looks like the kid's are better at home management than we are. Happy Birthday to Liz! What is that now? Seventy? Are you ready for number two Stace and Reed? Nobody really
Phoenix Hotel offers small triple rooms with breakfast for $15 per night.
is. Noah: Welcome home Son! Hope your time on the range went well. Truc: Get well girl. We missed you. The heat here is brutal so we figured that it was time to push off to the islands of Cambodia for huts and hammocks on tiny monkey populated atolls. We'll see.....
Tot: 2.789s; Tpl: 0.062s; cc: 12; qc: 31; dbt: 0.0305s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb