HUE - MOTO MANIA
Yesterday we arrived in Hue around 10 am. Hue is a little town in the center of Vietnam. Even though Derek had told all of us that the weather would be warm and sunny when we hit Vietnam, we've had nothing but rain and chilly weather, and yesterday was no exception.
After arriving, haggling over hotel prices, getting checked in and eating, the majority of us (minus Rena and Antasia) rented bicycles, with the exception of Tommy who rented a motorbike, and began riding towards what we saw on the map to be old tombs. Just as we began riding down the street, the rain began. At first it was merely a small drizzle, but as we got further away from our hotels, it came down a little heavier. It was fun, actually, getting totally drenched. The only problem was that I was wearing my glasses so at times it was like driving down the road with no windshield wipers in a downpour making it rather difficult to see.
The traffic in Hue is so much calmer than the traffic in Hanoi, but it's a lot different than cycling in the States. Everyone moves in a fluid motion constantly disobeying what we would think of as traffic laws. But it actually works out nicely, and once we got into the groove of handling ghetto bicycles, we were moving along like the rest of them.
Through our explorations, we came upon old mausoleums and beautiful country side scenes of people farming in flooded rice paddies. It was so awesome. Vietnam is a totally beautiful country. We also stopped at one point at this little outdoor coffee shop on a small pond. There were bamboo huts, sort of (I'm tired so I can't explain things very well right now), and we were able to order some coffee and two fishing poles and fish for awhile. Janice caught a small fish, and shortly before we left, Derek caught a slightly larger fish. The rest of us had no luck, but it was a cool way to spend some time out of the rain.
After we returned from biking, Tommy took me on a motorcycle tour of Hue. There's an old, French citadel and Chinese stronghold in the middle of the city as well as old canons and other historical things to see. It was a fun way to see the city. At one point, he took us down this one way bridge where there was maybe six inches of space between our legs and what would amount to an incredibly painful collision with a metal fence. But he kept the bike steady and became my hero for a few minutes!
This morning we left early for a bus trip that took us north of Hue. We saw a lot of beautiful country - green and mountainous. We visited a couple of very small museums showing pictures from the war, and we crossed the DMZ (demilitarized zone). It was pretty interesting because we had an English speaking guide who talked about the war and pointed out areas where American troops were stationed. It was also interesting to hear and see (like at the museum) a different perspective of the Vietnam War. Our final stop was to see these underground tunnels that were dug during the beginning of the war where residents of this particular village lived for, I think, four years. The tunnels were pretty intricate and impressive, but I can't imagine living down there for so long.
We didn't get home until this evening, and we've all kind of split off to do our own thing. Tomorrow we'll begin traveling toward Mui Ne, a small town on the beach, where we hope to chill for a couple of days and soak up the sun. I think all of us are ready to just relax and do nothing for a couple of days, but the next two days will consist of bus rides and lots of waiting.