Saturday, March 3, 2007

Ninh Binh, Hue, Lang Co, Hoi An

We headed to Cuc Phuong National Park the following day to do trekking for the first half of the day. It was sold as being easy but it ended up being quite hard. It was very good and we were glad to get out of Ninh Binh as it was a bit of a dive and there was very little craic in it. After the trekking we went off to an Endangered Primate Rescue Center. After this it was back to Ninh Binh to head for Hue. It was a long enough journey about 10 hours.

Hue was lovely and was alot more laid back and less hassle than Vietnam had been up to this point. The Citadel was very interesting to walk around. Like a Motte and Bailey kind of job. This was the old capital pre World War II. There were nice bars and restaurants here. The DMZ bar was good craic. The next day we went on a tour of the DMZ to see places like RockPile, Khe Sanh, Ben Lai River and Vinh Moc tunnels. This was the separation point of north and south after World War II and alot of the fighting in the american war took place here.

We were off on our travels again the following day to Lang Co. There was a beach/lagoon here but it was too dangerous to swim. We instead set off to the Suoi Voi (Voi Springs) on motorbikes up in the mountains. It was more like a waterfall though. There was a lovely part where we were able to swim and the views were lovely. Into town then and we could only find this one restaurant to eat and we were the only ones there. We were thinking this'll be a quiet night and we just stopped for the one drink on the way home. Before we knew it all the locals were talking to us or more like playing charades with us as they had very little english. The thought I was Mr. Universe with the size of my arms. It'd do wonders for your self confidence. Then the whole family came out and they brought out a bucket of Oysters. They were lovely. The father distrusted us for a while but when he heard we were Catholics he was over the moon. Ended up a mighty night that came out of nowhere.

We were onto Hoi An the following day where I still am. We arrived on the 14th day of the lunar month which is a big celebration. The town is a UNESCO site. The highlight is the Japanese covered bridge. Anyway that night down by the river the place was crowded with the locals playing what looked like bingo with the caller calling out the numbers in a Vietnamese tone that sounded very like Sean Nos singing. They were also lighting lanterns and floating them down the river. Was a great night.

Just lazed around the town today and am heading for My Son, Marble mountains and China Beach tomorrow. The following day we'll head for Nha Trang.

More photos up here:

Glad to have this finished as the first time I typed it I lost it and had to start again. See Brian it can happen to a saint, a supersaint.

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