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“Đà Nẵng me, Đà Nẵng me. Why Don't They Get a Rope & Hang Me?”

  |     |   Vietnam 2011   |   Vietnam, Hoi-An

Our last couple of hours in Huế were spent visiting some more of the local tourist hot spots before our bus journey through Đà Nẵng, over the mountain pass and into Hội An. We began the morning with another excellent breakfast at the Duy Tân Hotel before heading back over the river to visit the Imperial City of the Nguyễn Dynasty and the Citadel. The whole place had a strong similarity to the Forbidden City in Beijing, even down to the name of the central enclosure – the Purple Forbidden City. The whole place was very run down, but also still grand with what was left. There were workers dotted about working on the renovation works to try to bring this place back to the beauty of old, although there are quite a few buildings that are only foundations now. One major difference to the Forbidden City in Beijing, however, was the presence of elephants!

The final stop on our whistle stop tour of Huế was the Tomb of Tự Đức, the fourth emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty of Vietnam. The tomb was hidden within a pine forest in a valley just outside of Huế and was significantly larger than I was expecting, mainly because it is also a temple, with the two areas separated. The whole place was full of people sitting and drawing or painting various parts of the impressive structures within the complex. It was quite hot and humid so we wandered fairly slowly around the place before returning to the bus for the next stage in our journey to Hội An.

The road to Đà Nẵng held further intrigue in the form of a coconut hat and incense stall where we learned how the typical Vietnamese hat is made, as well as the incense. It turns out that the process of making incense sticks is pretty simple, once you know how to do it, and get enough practice. Rosie had a go, decimated the first one, and then managed to produce 3 or 4 really good sticks. I was very proud!

This lead us quickly onto Đà Nẵng and the mountain pass looking down onto Đà Nẵng, although the weather was pretty murky up top so the view was fairly limited. In Đà Nẵng we took a trip into the Marble Mountains to see the Buddhist Temple at the top and the beautiful caves that were used as shelters and places of worship during the Vietnam War. In the temple, we were fortunate to be visiting when two senior monks were chanting to the whole temple. It was a wonderful sound, so calm and enchanting. Within the temple complex we also saw some fairly huge Buddha Statues. It was a very warm day, but we were sheltered most of the time so we were able to enjoy the experience fully.

We arrived at the Golf Hội An later on that afternoon in time to have a shower before heading out into the Old Quarter with the rest of the group for dinner at a fairly Western appearing bar, Before and Now. It turned out that it was still a very Vietnamese restaurant, but they did serve Western food. Most of us enjoyed some wonderful local dishes recommended by Hai. Hội An is apparently the place to go for tailored clothes in Vietnam and as we were there for 3 days, Hai showed us some tailors he recommended. So, after dinner, Rosie and I headed to one so I could get some shirts made for work. Within 10 minutes the measurements were taken and the materials chosen. A bit of umming and ahhing from Rosie about buying a suit and we were done. Maybe Rosie will get a suit, but she’s not sure at the moment. Off to bed now.

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