At 7 o clock on Tuesday evening we got on our sleeping bus to Hoi An, altho to make things a little more complicated we had to change buses at Hue. We were so entertained when we got on the bus! Rather than seats you are practically given a bed. Although these are made to the size of Vietnamese people so we werea little big for them. It didn't help that in the area where you're supposed to put your feet we had our smaller backpacks (which were rammed with all the crap we couldn't fit in our big backpacks). I also was still trying to take care ofmy hat and not crush it (im failing miserabley at this and don't know why I dont just fold it up in my backpack it'd be much easier). On the sleeping bus there were 2 levels andwe were on the top level, we found it very entertaining and after pratting around taking photos we settled down; or at least we would have done if the babies would have stopped crying!! Stupid kids. We finally arrived at Hue around 9 o clock, it felt much later than though as we had to listen to the screaming kids the whole way.
In Hue we had a few hours to spare some after some deliberating we decided to take a tour of the city on the back of a motorbike. We were both (very) scared of being on one of these bikes after seeing the way that they drive over here. Its each man for themself and they dont appear to have totally understood the concept of using lanes as they go in any direction they wish. This makes it very difficult when trying to cross the road. Even when the green man is flashing there are still motorbikes flying round the corner at you. I should say though that when I talk about the motorbikes they are more like a cross between a motorbike and a scooter. We weren't riding on the back of a Harley. We actually felt very safe on the back and really enjoyed the experience, although you did feel every little dip and bump in the road. I was happy as my driver didn't use his horn every 20 seconds unlike Louise's driver and the rest of the motorbikes, cars and buses in Vietnam.
First we were taken to see some American bunkers next to the river which reminded me of all those school trip like holidays I took with Dad, Mum and Steven. There were some great views from the top of the hill and we were watching them dig into the river to make cement. From what we have seen Vietnam has big ideas about its future and making into a popular holiday resort. We then went to see the tombs of Tu Duc, an old emperor. It was set in a beautiful surrounding with a small lake as a centre piece. From there we went to see Thien Mu Pagoda which is apparently one of the oldest and prettiest religious buildings in the country. Our final stop was a quick photo opportunity outside Citadel. Inside it was a forbidden city where only emperors and those close to him were granted access. On the way to it we drove past some canons which I think had some significance as my driver pointed them out to me. I didn't ask him to stop so I could sit and have photo taken on one though sorry mum. And that was the end of of motorbike tour.
We then had another 3 hours on the bus to get to Hoi An where we arrived aound 7ish. We found another great hotel (with free internet and a pool, more than enough to keep us happy) waiting for us. It is called Thanh Binh III (www.thanbinghotel.com.vn) for you nosey ones. By the way I wont be telling you the names of the hostels we'll be staying in soon, you only get to see the good ones. We went and got an ice cream, which was almost melted by the time we got back across the raod to the hotel to eat it and settled into our new hotel.
We went for a little exploration the following day. Its a nice little place here with an ancient town and lots of shops! The weather is a bit temperamental though. I was saying yesterday lucnh how we had to go back to the hotel as it was too hot, around 32 degrees. Well we decided to venture out again later when it had cooled a bit when it started to rain a little. So to avoid the rain we went had something to eat. Our plan didn't really work. We went to leave about 4.30 and got absolutley drenched on the way back!! We were dripping! The women on the street tried to sell us ponchos but 1. I will never buy or wear a poncho, and 2. it was too late we couldn't get any wetter!
When the rain had slowed we went out again in the evening and there was a lovely atmosphere in the ancient town. Restaurants had music playing and all the shops had little laterns hanging. You also weren't pestered to buy something or go on a motorbike or hire a bike for the day which was nice.
We're just waiting now for another bus! We're heading to Nha Trang for a couple of days before going to Ho Chi Minh City (Siagon) then its on to Cambodia.