The heat strikes back
Hue Travel Blog› entry 8 of 16 › view all entries
So the bus ride this morning gave me some time to reflect back on the funnier things I've noticed on this trip. I mentioned how brown I was getting, but I haven't written at all about how obsessed Asian women are with whiteness. They all cover their faces with hats and masks, partly to block the pollution when riding motorbikes, but also toprotect against the sun. Long pants for the most part and nude colored stockings with their sandals to protect theirfeet. If they're wearing a short shirt, they wear long flesh colored gloves, similarly looking to evening gloves that come up past their elbow.
We have yet to meet other Americans travelling, but some say that they have met some saying they were Canadians. They needn't bother. Vietnamese here for the most part hold no grudges. As my moto driver put it the other day: "America and Vietnam friends now.We family now. Not like before. Same same." Granted, he was after my money, but I think what he said was true. Vietnam is only looking forward and in a country where more than half are born after the war, the past is not forgotten, but somewhat forgiven, even with the existence of places like the War Remants Museum which used to be called the American atrocities museum.
It's funny to see communist propaganda billboards of smiling soldiers with the yellow star on a red flag in the baground while driving around towns. I have seen very little evidence that Vietnam is a communist country.Everythign resolves around business and tourism here. Every moto driver has a business card and a cell phone. Every seller seems to be learning English at night, occasionally French. Tourism is a huge part of the economy here. They even have "tourist police" in Saigon, where upon trying to cross certain intersections, a man in a bright green uniform will blow his whistle and step out into the street where motor bikes whizz past him and pay him no mind. The only people who have been geuninely angry with us was a donut lady in Nha Trang who kept asking us to buy donuts and we kept refusing and the touts here who keep trying to take us to hotels. "Good price I promise." Every time we step off the bus, we're mobbed by men asking if we need a ride or hotel.
This morning we were abruptly deposited in Hue. The farther north we go, the hotter it is. As my friend would say, it's hotter than Hades and I'm starting to look forward to a mild San Francisco summer. We visited the Citadel in Hue today and are staying in the backpackers ghetto. We've been sampling various desert foods all day, most that involve coconut and grass jelly, sometimes mung bean, and some corn. I accidentally bought 2 kilos of lychee instead of 1 and everyone in street stalls has been asking me for "souvenirs" meaning they want a lychee, something that hasn't happened in other cities. Some just take it out of my bag, which I don't mind, but I find funny. Nap time to beat the heat and out later for some delicious food specialties of Hue.