Trompe le Monde: A Round the World Tour Diary

An online travel diary so people can keep up to date with what I'm doing and where I'm going.

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Friday, January 14, 2005

Hue

Right, well, I know I haven't written for a while, but there's not been a lot to say. We stayed in Hanoi for a couple more days, and it started to get very cold. Went to a series of temples in the hills outside town, called the Perfume Pagoda, which was ok but nothing too great. And saw some more museums that were also ok but not great. So I couldn't be bothered to write about them. Ok?

Anyway, we travelled south on an overnight bus to Hue, in Central Vietnam. Hue used to be the capital of the Nguyen dynasty of Vietnamese emperors, who were in charge from 1802-1945, though during the last few years they were really only puppets, their strings pulled by, at various times, the French, the Japanese and whoever else came that way. Now there's not much left of the former Citadel, containing the Imperial Palace, itself containing the Forbidden City, which in turn contained the emperor, his concubines, and their eunuch guards, because the Septics bombed it flat in the American war, when it was held for twenty-five days or so following the Tet offensive. But what is left is reasonably impressive, and there's a great massive concrete block with a flag in front of it - very Communist!

Another thing to see in Hue is a famous pagoda (temple thing) in front of which a monk famously performed a self-immolation in the 50s (I think) to protest against the rule of President Diem, then in charge of South Vietnam. Said pagoda includes a large octagonal tower, a proud and impressive symbol of Vietnam... er, except today it was surrounded by scaffolding. So that was a disappointment.

The final thing we've seen here is Tu Duc's tomb, another large imperial complex that suffered slightly due to the war. It's a big park type deal containing the final resting places of Tu Duc and many of his wives (he was that sort of an emperor - lucky git!) and family members. It was very pleasant.

So, basically, Hue is ok, but a bit dull, and suffered a lot due to Uncle Sam. But it's not all bad - there is a bar here called DMZ (the former demilitarised zone between South and North Vietnam is not too far away from here) which features cheap beer, free pool, and permanent markers with which to further plaster the already covered walls with bizarre graffiti.

"And so it goes, and so it goes... Si and Taz" - An example of said graffiti, on the bar at DMZ, Hue.

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