I am sitting in a gaming shop in Hue, surrounded by loads of kids loudly playing online games - quite an atmosphere!
So in Hoi An I succombed to pressure and bought two tailor made dresses - my justification is that for the price, it was completely worth it ! After shopping and wandering around Hoi An, a few of us rented some bicycles from the hotel and braved the roads of Vietnam. I feel proud to have tried this. I did feel like I was about to die several times though - when one motorcycle is overtaking you, another undertaking you, a lorry is overtaking all of you, and a hoard of other bikes and motorcylces are hurdling towards you from different roads in the middle of a junction ... lets say it wasn't the most stress-free environment. Once we left the town though it was great, following the river and surrounded by fields (and a few crazy overtaking lorry drivers) - before we knew it we had cycled the 5km that took us to the beach. The weather has severely dropped though, its in the low 20 degrees celcius and very overcast with a bit of rain here and there, so the beach wasn't particularily the best choice but it was cool to see it, plus its a beach that I recognised from the Top Gear Vietnam special (so many references to that here, including the mountain road pass which we drove on today to reach Hue ... beautfil scenery with the mountains and the sea, but slightly nauseating twisted roads!).
Hoi An was very pretty, especially at night. There are no street lights other than lanterns, plus little lanterns floating on the river made for some beautiful night scenes.
This morning we drove a few hours (through the mountain pass) to reach Hue. Not much to do here other than visit the ancient palace and citadel, which still has bullet holes from the American War. Tomorrow its off on another sleeper train to Hanoi & a bus directly to Halong City. Apparently the next sleeper train is a little better than the last one (thank god), but I think we were still quite lucky - I've heard stories of previous trains having vomit and used baby nappies lying about! Oh dear...