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Published: August 27th 2008
Dragon phoneix seppy
Title says it all really - it was a test of who was fiercest. Seppy won ... well the other two were made of cardboard..
Since we last updated we have made it from Hue to Ho Chi Minh. Hue was a great place for a day! The main thing to see is the imperial citadel, unfortunately given Vietnam's rather bloody history, not much remains of what was once a very impressive structure. Although as part of the visit we went to a show of Imperial dance and music where we had tea (the imperial blend) and cakes (imperial cakes) which was fun ( although being honest - the cakes made me want to hurl - Jonathan liked them though). When you were walking around the grounds some of them have been restored including ( I kid you not) the royal tennis courts, mad.
Its funny though, because the design and structures very clearly resemble the forbidden city in Beijing, you wonder did all these emperors get together and have a “mine is bigger than yours” conversation.
We also rented bikes whilst in Hue and cycled out to some pagodas - in the countryside , that was really fun although it did start to rain whilst we were out and about - Septima was seen sporting this seasons rain wear chic - that sassy
Dragons give birth
an unexpected twist in the Imperial show we saw - there had been lots of the usual wriggling and dancing from the dragons, but suddenly there was a baby dragon in the middle of the stage too
little purple poncho, oh how the crowds flocked to her as she cycled along the roads.
But a lovely thing happened to us, we were on the train from Hue to Nha Trang - we had left at 8am and would arrive in about 9pm (actually it ended up being 10pm - Vietnam trains are not known for their time keeping). So we were sharing a Cabin with a Vietnamese girl (probably more appropriate to say woman). She could not really speak English but she was very smiley, at lunch time the provinista delivered her lunch ( which from her reaction was not very good) Jonathan got a piece of chicken but I did not eat anything. Jonathan's chicken was not good and ended up in the bin. After lunch the woman danders off and returns with three bread rolls ( one for each of us) as a present, we thought that it was lovely of her. Then at dinner time we arrived at a station and she got off and returned with three dinners, again one for each of us, it was really lovely of her. In reality I think she felt sorry for us and thought that
This was the grand finale of the imperial show with lots of lanterns - can't believe there were only 6 people in the audience and most of them were seated 4 rows behind me (assigned seats) while we munched on Imperial cakes and drank Imperial tea infront of the Imperial throne - I think you get the idea.
we probably would not know how to go about getting food - so she took it upon herself to look after these two foreign strangers . At this stage we were a bit stumped as to how to say thank you, thankfully we remembered that we had bought these handmade silk flowers in Laos (sorry to the person that they were intended for......) and so we gave them to her as a present. Meanwhile Jonathan was his usual charming self and entertained her with photos of things like leprechauns on his phone until she disembarked. It was truly a lovely experience.
We then ended up in Nha Trang, Why you may ask - well we decided we would use a couple of days and learn to dive so we did our open water PADI qualification. (In the theory test Jonathan got 98% - what an overachiever). We had a great time - there were three of us in our class, we ended up doing the course with a French girl called Anais who was very cool and our instructor (Chris) was really good and very nice, We had not been planning to go to Nha Trang as it is
Imperial tennis courts
We joked that these were the royal tennis courts when we saw them in the distance among the ruined citadel in Hue - pretty surprised when it turned out to be true
kinda like the Toromolinos of Vietnam but actually given that we had a great time diving - it was totally worth it.
since then we have headed to Ho Chi Minh, I have been busy (aka shopping) whereas Jonathan went out to the Cu Chi tunnels (to get away from the shopping) which I am sure he will tell you all about (photos should show some of it- basically a good tour with lots of propaganda).
At present I am sitting in Ho Chi Minh airport about to get on a flight to Bangkok, then onward to Amsterdam. Whilst this leg of our journey is over, our time off is not yet done (yippee). I realised today that it had been eight months since I was gainfully employed. When we originally thought up this idea of taking time off, we were both a bit apprehensive, how would we react to not having the mental stimulation of work, how would we react to spending 24/7 together, would we hate life on the road, all these things and more were of concern but thankfully these concerns have been unfounded, we are having a great time together. I think for me
Cycling in Hue you have slightly more road rights than an amoeba, though that is still more than a pedestrian.
the difference is that we are doing this trip in our thirties as oppose to our twenties so the quality of the accommodation which we are willing to accept is very different and also we have decided that if it is worth doing then we should just do it, a bit like deciding to learn to dive. why not! we only have one chance at life, might as well make sure that ts a good one.
So we are back in the dam (writing my dissertation) and Ireland (once my dissertation is written) for September and then who knows!
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