Hue: The former Capital

The sun has been spotted! For the first time since I flew from Chicago I have seen it!! Up until this point a good day was completely cloudy with only a little bit of drizzle. Ugh. It’s been a long time coming! I was actually able to take out my camera and have nice light and not have to worry about hiding it under my poncho in the rain! Although right now I’m having some electrical problems with my camera to computer USB connection, so I can’t post any photos until I buy I card reader (I hope). But I’ll post them here when I do!

 

As, the title suggest, now I’m in Hue, in central Vietnam. It was the former capital of the Nguyen dynasty from the early 1800’s the mid 1900’s, so it has lots of cool historical stuff to see. Although a bunch of it got destroyed during the war, sadly. A Dutch girl and I rented motorbikes and headed to check out the emperor’s tombs outside the city, as well as the Imperial City, walled off in the heart of the city. I guess the Imperial City got bombed pretty badly during the war, so most of it is restored, with fresh looking concrete. I think downtown Naperville probably has more actual historic buildings, but it was still interested to walk around and learn the history. But wow, was it nice to have a sunny day. I actually burned quite a bit, as I hadn’t even thought to buy any sunscreen yet!

The Emperors’ tombs were quite the spectacle. It wasn’t just the tombs themselves, each Emperor had is own little walled in sanctuary, complete with lakes, gardens, pagodas, and god knows how many concubines. They lived well! Interestingly enough, one of the emperors, Tu Duc, is not actually buried in his supposed tomb. Two hundred laborers set off to build him a separate tomb in a hidden location somewhere outside the city. Apparently when they returned, all of them were beheaded, as to keep the secret safe. How’s that for a thank you? Brutal! And to this day, no actually know where his real burial site is…

 

Now I’m backtracking, but before I arrived in Hue I was situated in a more rural place called Phong Nha, which is known for its caves. It actually has the largest cave chamber in the world in the Hang Son Doong cave, but to experience that one you have to do a 5 day expedition for the small sum of $3,000; which is a little too steep for me. But there are a bunch of other caves in the area that you can ride a motorbike to. And of course being in a cave is a good way to escape the rain!

 

I’d also read about a place called ‘Pub with Cold Beer’ which is a little place in the countryside and they grow all their own food and when you order chicken, you have the option to kill it yourself. It sounded like a cool concept, I wasn’t sure if I’d do it myself or just watch it happen, but it’s nice to know exactly where your food is coming from! In the age of ‘farm to table’ this was about as real as it gets. But sadly the path was too muddy to get there and we had to turn around after getting our motorbikes stuck. Some local famers were laughing at our attempts in vain!

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And before Phong Nha I was in Ninh Binh, which is known for it’s beautiful limestone rock formations, similar to Yangshuo, in China. It was a great place to rent a motorbike and cruise around the countryside! Of course it was cloudy all the time and occasionally misty or drizzling, so the photos I took were disappointing. I can only image it during the summer…

 

So overall this trip has been fine, but this weather has certainly dampened quite a few things. I guess there was crazy flooding in Southern Thailand and now Vietnam is getting the tail endof that storm. And as glad as I am about our little bit or sunny weather, turns out it is just a tease! Here is the forecast for the my next two destinations:

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AGHGHGHG. I guess I will be getting to the very south ASAP.