Big Fish, Little Fish, Cardboard Box

Hue Travel Blog

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Is that a bazooka, or are you just happy to see me?

Juliette, Rob, and I hopped aboard the overnight train to Hue.  It was a mostly uneventful trip, consisting of us playing card games and sleeping.  When we arrived we found a hotel room for the three of us and set out to the Old City Citadel... which was almost all ruins.  Apparently during this "American" War I hear so much about we bombed the shit out of it (along with the rest of the country) and only a couple buildings survived.  So it was a bit anticlimatic, but interesting to see.  Hot as hell, though.  Jeez this country might as well be one giant sauna.  We booked a trip to the DMZ - Demilitarized Zone for those of you who didn't pay attention in History - during the Vietnam War.  It's on the 17th Parallel and basically divided the country into the Communist/Anti-American side and the South/Pro-American side.

Me (obviously) and the Citadel entrance.
  We visited the Vinh Moc tunnels where a whole town hid during the war from bombs.  It was incredible how intricate this tunnel system was.  Over 300 people lived there at one point, yet their 4 person "family rooms" were about the size of a one person tent.  Except not as tall.  I think my family would have killed each other living there long before the enemy discovered us.  They also had maternity rooms which were not much larger, as 17 babies were born underground!  I don't think anyone can complain about childbrith above ground again.  It was an eye opening experience just what these people had to go through to survive.  Our tour guide also told us that since the end of the war 7 people a MONTH are still killed or injured by land mines in the DMZ alone!  Terrible.
Entrance to the Vinh Moc tunnels.


We then visited an old American base camp that was turned into a museum.  The grounds even had actual helicoptors and tanks from the war.   The museum of course was biased towards the North Vietnamese and almost every picture of an American held the description "look at the panicked Americans!" even if the guys were just sitting doing nothing.  Interesting, but I guess it is their country.  Even met a group of American Vets heading in which I thought was cool that they could return to these sights after all this time.  On the way back we (well, the bus) picked up a Canadian lady, probably in her 60's, named Linda.  That night the four of us went to dinner - it was so cute, she seemed so appreciative that we would ask her - and witnessed the most awkward lady-boy/old man date EVER.

This is the size of one of their family rooms. For four people.
  This guy seriously had to be in his late 70's-80's.  Thought I wouldn't run into that sort of thing until Thailand, but I was lucky!  I guess I shouldn't complain about my dating life anymore.


Next stop: Hoi An, aka the custom-made clothing capital of Vietnam.  Literally hundreds of tailor shops begging to make you dresses, coats, shorts, shoes, anything.  I ended up getting a dress made, which was stupid because I sorta hate dresses and have no occasion to wear one for a very long time.  The dress is cute.. but I kinda hate how it looks on me.  It makes me look 12, something I'm good at without the help of young styled clothing.  BUT when you get something fitted exactly for your body you can't exactly return it.

American helicopter, circa 1960's.
  So now I have this dress that I'm lugging around.  I liked Hoi An though.  There was this amazingly beautiful beach 15 minutes away that was completely empty since it's low season (too hot).  As I lay on the white sand with a celebratory first-beach-of-the-trip pina colada in my hand I did take a minute to think of everyone back home sitting at their jobs.  So don't say I never think of you!  I then entered into a conversation with a lovely Vietnamese woman selling jewelry.  But she wasn't like the dozen others, she seemed bored and like she wanted to just talk.  Told me all about her two sons, how she hates her job, what her husband does, etc etc.  Nice lady.  Almost felt bad I didn't buy anything.
It's a tough life, traveling.
  I know, shame on me.


The night scene was pretty cool too.  I met these two American (Americans! finally!) girls in the hotel and we headed out to a few local bars the last night I was there.  At the Why Not? Bar we were told there was a free bus leaving for a beach party at 12:30.  So we jump on board, overhearing a bunch of drunk English guys making fun of America - of course - which was actually pretty funny since it was good natured and one of the guys later apologized after realizing we were American.  The beach party had a huge bar, dance floor complete with pumping electronica and flashing lights, and a pool outside.  BUT GUESS WHO I SAW THERE!  Jen and Paul from China!  The ones I did the Tiger Leaping Gorge trek with!  Maybe it was the 3 rum and cokes I had, but I was soo excited to see them.

Juliette making her way through the tunnels.
  It was like bumping into old friends.  We spent the whole night drinking buckets and dancing, including them teaching me a new dance move descriptively, if not oddly, named 'big fish, little fish, cardboard box.'  Good, good times.  A few of the Dutch guys (who were all suspiciously topless and dancing in a group) were talking to us and were really nice, except for one that kept making fun of our accent by going "O-M-G, like totally" every few seconds.  I told him off then these English guys took us home on their motorcycles at 3:30am.   SO MUCH FUN.  Man, I wish I bought a bike like them and toured around this country.  Maybe next trip.

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Is that a bazooka, or are you just…
Is that a bazooka, or are you jus…
Me (obviously) and the Citadel ent…
Me (obviously) and the Citadel en…
Entrance to the Vinh Moc tunnels.
Entrance to the Vinh Moc tunnels.
This is the size of one of their f…
This is the size of one of their …
American helicopter, circa 1960s.
American helicopter, circa 1960's.
Its a tough life, traveling.
It's a tough life, traveling.
Juliette making her way through th…
Juliette making her way through t…
photo by: Paulovic