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February 16th 2016
Published: March 1st 2016
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Tina Writes

We were up super early for the bus to Hue (pronounced ‘Way’). This would allow us to test out the sleeper buses used to travel through the country as the journey was only meant to take 2.5 hours. These buses are weird. They have bunk bed like chairs built in a row along the windows and one down the middle, each with a top and bottom bunk. There was no choice, this was the only bus you could get. We would not be sleeping though. We both choose a top one with me at the window and Rob in the middle. Climbing up was a bit of challenge. I had read many blogs about these buses and they were rarely good. It wasn’t so bad for me as I am just wee, but Rob was squashed up like concertina. He was dead excited about the cool bus journey and thought I was boring until 20 minutes in and suddenly it was no longer fun. The bus also drove at 30 miles an hour the whole time and stopped repeatedly for breaks. It took about 5 hours to travel 60 miles! Some of our fellow companions on the bus consisted of a girl who sang the songs she was listening to on her phone while looking up the lyrics. She squealed these songs. She didn’t actually pronounce any words. I realised at one point she was ‘singing’ Adele. I suddenly gained a sympathy and deep respect for my work colleagues who have to listen to me doing this 8 hours a day. Thanks guys, you’re troopers! And then there was chew man. You would think he was eating the chewiest, never ending, toffee ever. No regard for the noise he was making. I tell you, it takes all my power not to get jailed!

After finally arriving, we were met by a taxi arranged for us by our guest house. I had booked this place based on extremely good reviews on Tripadvisor. It was really cheap at £14 a night but I also had a promo code and got it for £7 per night. The reviews were mainly about the family that own the place and how amazingly hospitable they are. They were indeed very welcoming. They had fresh watermelon juice and fruit waiting for us. Carrie, the owner sat with us and showed us on a map where to go, gave us options of the tours available and wanted to know how we would get to Hanoi, the next city after our stay in Hue. We had planned on the train as apparently the scenery is amazing and it was £100 to fly. Carrie felt we should fly though and found flights for us at $31 each! So flying it is. We went to our room and discovered it was not really our thing. Small, dark and the bed was solid. But it was clean and £7 a night. Carrie then asked us to join her and her family for their New Year lunch. Amazingly nice of her. As awkward as it was, it was an experience not to be missed and we had some lovely, real, Vietnamese food.

We then headed for a walk and toward the Citadel. This was one of the big sites to see here. It was pretty interesting but I found myself constantly disgusted at the idea of Monarchy and how ridiculous a concept it is. There was a lovely, lovely horsey in a field though that I had a wee chat to. There were loads of huge Carps in the ponds and you could buy fish food for them. We had a lot of fun feeding them. We headed back as it started to rain and stopped at a wee coffee shop where I had white chocolate ice cream and Rob had Durian ice cream. This is the closest we have come to eating Durian, which is a very popular fruit in South East Asia. The thing about Durian is, it STINKS! So badly that there are signs in lots of places banning it. Just like you see a no smoking sign, you see a no Durian sign. The ice cream was minging. It tasted like vegetable ice cream. He ate it all though. After a refresh in our guest house we went out for something to eat at the bottom of the street. It specialised in Italian food and I gave in and got Pizza. It was one of the best pizza’s I have ever eaten!

Next day we hired a driver to take us around all the temples in the area. Most were pretty unremarkable and only built 50 years ago. There was one though which housed the car of Thich Quang Duc, the monk who famously set himself on fire. He drove it to Ho Chi Minh in order to protest against people not being able to practice Buddishm. You can see the car in the backround of the famous photo. Then I met a little kitten. Clearly suffering from cat flu, I gave it a wee cuddle and looked for its Mommy but eventually I had to put him down and carry on. We were in and out of the temples quite quickly and back at the hotel within 3 hours. The staff at the guest house were surprised to see us back so quickly. Done in, we decided to just hang out in the room for the rest of the night. We got a takeaway pizza from the Italian place and started to watch Breaking Bad. We had left off at the end of season 1 years ago.

Our flight to Hanoi was at 6pm, so we slept in a bit and then went over to the big market. This was a proper market, not touristy at all. It was huge. We weaved in and out of the hundreds of alleyways getting chased by vendors selling cigarettes and the likes. It was interesting to see the huge pots full of shrimp and squid spilling out. There were huge bits of meat just sitting baking in the sun. How they are not all dead, I don’t know! Rob bought some sesame seed chewy sweetie things. After Rob got stuck into those we ascertained that the guy on the bus must have been eating these.

The sun had been gone for a few days. It was actually cold last night! I actually shivered a bit. It was bliss but now it was back. I wanted to get a cyclo ride back to the other side of the river. I negotiated a 50,000 Dong (£1.30) ride and off we went. After about 15 minutes we reached our destination and handed over the cash but he insisted he meant 50,000 Dong each! Furious, I was! Rob gave in immediately and I stomped off. Just to put it in to perspective, it is 100,000 Dong to hire them for 1 hour. We then went on a pedal-o shaped like a swan. It was good fun and passed the time before our flight.

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