Hue, the city of culture

 

DSC00502

We are now in Hue which is in Central Vietnam. Hue used to be one of the capitals of Vietnam. It’s a nice older city with a lot of green space, parks, and has a lot of older French architecture. The city has been built around the Perfume River . It has the top medical universities in Vietnam. It also has a renown special high school for gifted children. I would say that many of the people are educated or being educated. There is more English spoken here by the Vietnamese then anywhere we’ve been. Even the the small shop keeper where we buy our bottled water speaks English well. I can’t say anything because our Vietnamese is non-existent. It is an incredibly difficult language to pronounce. Hue appears to be a more sophisticated city.

We took 2, half day tours to see some of the Kings Mausoleums including the Thien Mu Pagoda, The Citadel and the Thanh Toan Wood Bridge. Unfortunately many of the temples were damaged by French and American bombs during the past wars. They are in the process of restoring many of these ancient sites. The temperatures were in the in the mid 40’s most of the week. Lucky for us the 2 days we picked for the tours were in the low 30’s.

The tour of The Mausoleum of Khai Dinh was the most impressive and had a natural setting in the jungle. Of course The Citadel was massive but largely destroyed by the bombings. A lot of it is under restoration.

Our second day was very special because we met this 80 year old lady who was so happy it was contagious. She was at the Thanh Toan Museum and her job was to show how the old farming tools were used. She would start grinding the rice and sing, then put on the thatching (she called a raincoat) to show how the water buffalo plowed the fields and she would sing to the imaginary buffalo. She would show us how they would rock the baby and sing. Everything she showed us you could see her drift back into time and preform the task and sing. What a great time she had doing this and what fun it was to watch her.

This is the farm community the women lived in. They worked the farms, harvested the crops, and raised the children. The men visited once a year. They lived and worked in The Citadel. What a hard life for both the men and the women.

Our wonderful tour guide took us to the village market and showed us the different fruits and vegetables. We bought some fruit and vegetables and paid what the locals paid….very cheap. They have these tiny green apples they grow here. They were good but a bit on the tart side. Here’s a picture of Mr. Lan and David.

David & guide Mr Lan (stop & go tours)

On our last weekend Hue was having it’s bi-annual festival. We managed to go out a couple of evening to see some festivities. We saw traditional Vietnamese dancing, kite flying competition, and parades.

The traffic was horrendous so there were traffic control police out trying to control the crazy traffic. They had no chance of controlling the traffic so they got very frustrated and angry and it was comical for us to watch. At one corner there were 4 or 5 traffic police and they were yelling and waving their billy clubs at the traffic. A car was coming with a siren and 3 police were hanging out the window yelling and waving their clubs. Of course the traffic wasn’t even looking at them. The policeman didn’t stand a chance in hell. What a scene……

We took the train from Hue to Da Nang. It was a nice way to see the countryside. The train followed the coast for a while with beautiful views of white sand beaches and coves. We were on the wrong side of the train for me to take pictures. We had to stand and look out the windows on the other side. *Note to self, ask the agent for the right side of the train or bus for scenery views. We were surprised how old the train was. It had been refitted for TV’s and AC.

We went to Da Nang for a few days. We like Da Nang and China Beach a lot. The beach was beautiful and we could walk for miles in the surf. Da Nang is the best of both worlds. It is a newly developed IT centre for Vietnam and a beautiful beach all wrapped into one city.

Da Nang was a relief from the over trafficked places we had been in Vietnam. They had  lights to control the traffic which made it easier to get around. There were noticeably fewer hawkers then other places in Vietnam as well.

 

We’ve wrapped up our stay in Vietnam. I know a lot of bloggers have said they would never return to Vietnam because of the overcharging for tourists. We found Vietnam to have a strong culture that we didn’t understand sometimes but all and all we enjoyed our time in this country. We found the Vietnamese women to be outgoing and interested in communicating with us. Most of the males were stand-offish and they didn’t bother to communicating with us. The Vietnamese people are quite poor and are always looking for ways to relieve you of your money. You have to be on guard continuously and this can get very tiresome. We would agree with other bloggers that say Vietnam is set-up for tour groups. If you stay long term you see some of the nasty bits. All that being said we would return to Vietnam.

Good-bye for now Vietnam……

5 Comments

  1. The photos & blog are wonderful. Sounds like there are a lot more tourists since we were there, but that was a long time ago. The only place we experienced aggressive hustlers was in Halong Bay. There have been a lot of articles lately in the media about Vietnam. Check the Vancouver Sun Saturday April 9, 2016 for an article entitled “Find a peaceful place” by Mike Grenby. If it wasn’t so far away I would like to revisit. Heat is another problem. I have let it be known that I could only attend winter weddings.
    Keep the photos & blogs coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Vivienne,

      I think Vietnam has more tourists then when you and Bob were here. You came at the right time. I think you see a different side to a country when you live there for periods of time. As I said, Vietnam is set up for tour groups. Vietnamese are used to tourists that are there for a night or two then long term travellers. Also when you are on a tour or holidays you don’t know if they are overcharging you.

      All and all we did like Vietnam and would return.

      We just arrived in Sanur, Bali. We’ll email you shortly.
      Love, Barb

      Like

      1. I also think that when you are on a tour you get a very limited perspective of what is happening in a country. We were very impressed when we were in Tunisia. Thought they had achieved the best of two worlds. Saw the more progressive living very comfortably with the more conservative. We weren’t aware of the ‘unrest’ that was simmering under our noses. Can you imagine our shock not all that long after our trip when the “Arab Spring” blew up!! We’re so happy we visited the country when we did. We seem to have seen a lot of the countries we’ve been to ‘at the right time’. How long will you be in Bali? Take care. Love, V

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think you are right about seeing a general overview of countries. I think even when you stay for a month or two it’s still an overview. If you can’t speak the language you can only partly communicate with the locals. Plus you don’t know what they are saying on the buses, in the restaurants etc…..

        We are hoping to stay in Indonesia for 6 mos. we have a 2 month visa and we’re hoping to extend it 2 times. That the plan anyway. My sister is flying to Bali for a month in Sept. It will be so nice to see her. Her daughter is paying for the flight for her birthday present. Plus my sister helps her out so much with her dog business.

        So far we love Bali. We’ve met some nice people here at our hotel. As I said on FB. People hang out at the pool around 4 to 5 in the afternoon.

        Talk soon,
        Love, Barb

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s