Friday, March 12, 2010

Hue Vietnam

Our last stop in the grand tour of SE Asia is Vietnam. We started in the middle of the country, Hue (pronounced “way”) on Wednesday. Arriving to 60 degree weather was a shock to our systems as its been nearly 6 months since we have felt anything less than 75. This is not a complaint, we are fully aware that winter is still right outside many of our readers doors. Anyway, Hue was great. I am an avid reader of Vietnam War history and to finally visit some of the places I have read so much about has been a treat. Deb has been a trooper about it all, getting into the history as much, if not more, than me. We toured the Citadel and the Imperial City in Hue on our first day. Both places saw heavy fighting and still show some signs of the war today. Our second day was spent on a tour that had stops at Khe Sahn firebase, Doc Mieu base, the Rockpile, Camp Carol and the Vinh Moc tunnels on the China Sea. Going into the tunnels was an adventure as they were designed for people about 6 inches shorter than us. During the war there military dropped six tons of bombs per person in the city of Vinh Moc, the tunnels were built by the civilian population so they would not have to abandon their home. The ingenuity and impressive engineering skills of the people was not lost on us as we descended nearly 30 meters under the earth. It was a very cool, very insightful experience.

We also crossed the former north/south border and like any good visitor, had our picture taken straddling the two sides. I will not bore you with any more war history. However, it is worth noting that for the amount bombs dropped and the shear devastation that America inflicted on the mainly civilian population, the people of each place could not have been more welcoming. We were greeted warmly and without the slightest hint of animosity by the Vietnamese people who, in my opinion, have every right to hold a grudge against Americans. We enjoyed our tour with the very knowledgeable Mr. Duy and our fearless driver Thinh who got us from the Laotian boarder to the South China Sea and back to Hue without a scratch!

Our time in Hue and the previous week in Cambodia wore us out. So, we are taking a bit of a vacation from I guess you could say, vacation. How spoiled are we, right? We are now in Hoi An, a beautiful little city nestled a few miles from the South China Sea. We arrived on Saturday and immediately hit the beach, today was the same and tomorrow won't be any different. It is great here, the water is refreshing, the beer is always cold and everyone is always smiling. We have not been total bums in Hoi An. Deb is getting a business suit made by a local tailor for a very good price and the simple act of choosing who to buy from was an adventure in of itself. We have enjoyed two really nice dinner's in the Old Town area of the city. There are no cars allowed in the area and the streets are lit with many different colored lanterns that go hand in hand with gentle music that escapes from many of the restaurants. Its been a nice little break from traveling trail. We jump back into the mix on Tuesday when we head for the city of Nha Trang. Although, we are on the beach and have snorkeling and fishing tours planned...Maybe the vacation from the vacation will continues until we head to Europe.

1 comment:

  1. Your reflections on Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are erasing many of my stereotypes lingering from the '60's and 70's..thanks.