Well, this morning started off rather negative tone.  Getting up at 6:20, it was our first legit alarm-clock wakeup in roughly 9 days.  We quickly showered and nabbed breakfast to await our 7:30 bus.  Shockingly, (even for vietnam standards) the bus didn’t show until 8:45.  It really put us in a bad mood, knowing we wanted to see alot of things our first afternoon in Hue (with Visa’s expiring in less than a week).

The bus ride itself was alright, aside from the fact the bus-drivers assistant chose to fall asleep during the trip, and FULLY RECLINE his seat into Duncan’s face…Oh and the fact there was a half-hour break for food (really? is half-hour needed on a 3.5 hr bus ride? I mean a 15 minute washroom break would clearly have sufficed).

So we pulled into Hue just after noon.   We nabbed a hostel for $8, a bit outside the backpacker district, but still close to the river.  First thing we did was book a overnight busride to Hanoi for the 21st.  We also got a daytrip to the Demilitarized zone for tomorrow.

Then we dropped off our bags, and headed accross the river into the old imperial walled city, which was really nice.  Old cannons and the architecture of chinese walls was abundant.  There was also a nice sqare where we took some ‘propaganda’ photo’s with the Vietnamese flag flying high.  The heat soon became unbearable, and we quickly ran out of water, so we doubled our pace through the display of old american tanks (tanks in a walled imperial city?…come on! Tell me that’s not propaganda).  We then scurried over to a mall to bask in the air-con for a while (did some grocery shopping and ate some cheap North American food at the fast food chain Lotteria).  On our way out it started to pour (monsoon season), so we nabbed a 30 cent icecream and waited it out.  Once it eased up we walked to the market, where I nabbed the one souvenier I knew I needed to buy: a traditional vietnam villager hat.  Only problem is lugging it around for the rest of the trip…I’m planning to just tie it to the top of my pack and hoping it doesn’t get crushed.

Then we went back to the hostel, and waited out another thunderstorm.  Once it eased up we decided to head up to the hot springs.  “But Ben, how did you guys get there?”….Well I’m glad you asked.  The cheapest way was by Moto (motorcycle drivers) – $5 return + wait for us.  It was my first time on it, and I was a bit hesitant, not being in control of the bike myself.  Not to mention the fact it was still drizzeling and the roads were still really wet and slick.  Thoughts of the four crash-victims and one dead body we had witnessed in Ho Chi Minh City flashed through my head, but the drivers go  slow for tourists.  As  we went further my grip on the back of the bike eased up.  My driver provided me with a badass proper fitting helmet, whereas Duncans helmet barely covered the top of his heat…clearly a childs helmet.  His driver also stopped for some weird reason to ask him to get closer.  Likely do the the fact the weight was bobbling around whenever a corner was taken, but I gave Duncan a hard time, about his drivers desire to have a hard time with him… My driver was happy to point out everything about this – HIS – city, showing me everything from the brewery to the house/school where Ho Chi Minh grew up.

The hotsprings was just under $5, and very relaxing.  The rain eased up and we chilled out in the hot sulfer pools for a while, before hopping into the cold pool to wash of the stench of sulfer and to cool our bodies off.  It was so relaxing just floating there looking up at the sky.  As the sky darkened we decided to head back into the city.  The bike ride was really peacefull – either due to the fact it was dark and less cars out, or just because we were soo relaxed after the hot springs.  I was chatting it up with other moto drivers as they passed.  By the 5 minute mark I was completely at ease with someone else driving so just placed my hands on my knee’s not even gripping the bike at all.

Once back, we dropped off our bags and heading out to the riverside to eat dinner.  Hue reminds me of a miniature Budapest in the way with the bridges light up at night.  We found a really nice/classy restraunt where we had $6 meals.  Old knotty trees were scattered about the riverside restraunt with lanterns hanging from the tree branches.  We then headed back to the hostel, where I am now.  Early to bed for our 06:00 tour-start of the Demilitarized Zone tomorrow. (I’m dreading the 05:20 wakeup).  After the tour (roughly 18:00) we’re catching the overnight bus to Hanoi, where we hope to arrive by 08:00 the following morning.

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