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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dec 9: Hue

I took the night train from Hanoi to Hue in the central part of Vietnam - a 14-hour journey - arriving at 10:00am. I shared a taxi with my cabin mates from the train to a hotel that was mentioned in the Lonely Planet. Got a decent room for $10.

People come to Hue to see the Citadel, so that's where I went. 55,000 dong (about $3) got me through the gates. It was a huge complex with lots of old buildings in various states of disrepair, with no visible explanations. The grounds were beautiful, but I'm sure I missed out on the significance of the site because I'm not very familiar with Vietnamese history.

Afterwards, I walked down a back street, away from the tourist route, through Vietnamese life. It made me think about how when you're traveling, you get to see lots of interesting places in a short period of time. You can take lots of photos, go home & show them to your friends as you narrate your wonderful trip. But life - real life - goes on long after you've gone, in spite of your being there - & because of it.

In the evening, I came across the Mandarin Cafe where the owner Mr. Cu displays his wonderful photos of Vietnamese life, & offers postcards of the images for sale. I leafed through his photo album while eating a tasty meal & sipping the local brew: Huda.

I decided that one day was enough in Hue, so I booked a bus ticket to Hoi An for the following morning.

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