27th July 2012
We arrive at Hue station at 8:45 and jump on the bus which takes us to the hotel. The hotel is called "The Asia hotel" and is 3 star and from first impressions looks very good. We are told that the rooms won't be ready until 13:30 but are given 3 rooms to share between 15 of us. 4 of us head up to the room to freshen up and have a shower and the room has the strangest feature which I spotted just in time as Tony had gone into the bathroom. The wall where the bath and shower sit is made actually a full size window looking into the bedroom. I tapped on the window and waved to Tony who turned around and was very surprised to see us staring in at him. He quickly lowered the blind which covered the whole window. Once showered I head down and get some breakfast before we set off at 10:30 to visit the Emperors tomb and the Thein Mu pagoda. The Journey takes us about half an hour and when we step off the bus the heat hits you. It had been hot in the previous towns but as we travel further south the hotter it seems to be getting. The tomb isn't just a tomb it was a plaice which the Emperor used to visit a couple of times a year for a holiday with his 105 concubines of which 5 used to share his bed each night (a week of that and I would need a holiday to get over the holiday!). There is a lake with lotus Lilly floating on along with several other building such as the thrown room and the bed room. Once we have finished our tour it's back on the bus to see the Thien Mu pagoda. Another half and hour and we arrive. You have the pagoda it's self and then the temple which unfortunately isn't open in the afternoons. Back to the hotel and we get our rooms, a quick shower again and then I head off to the roof top pool to relax for a couple of hours and have a beer before we head out on an extra tour we paid for which is a motor bike tour. 16:00 and out side the hotel are 6 motor bikes and drivers ready to take us off to explore the area. I must admit its a long time since iv been on the back of a bike and to begin with I hold on for dear life. Hue's traffic is different to Hanoi as there are more motor bikes than cars but the streets are still busy and we zip through the streets weaving in and out of the traffic in our little convoy. Before long the tall buildings of the city are left behind and we are whizzing down little back streets of the villages on the outskirts. The landscape turns to a lush deep green as The paddy fields stretch out towards the mountains. After a while we stop by a river for a chance to take some photos. Its a relief to get off the bikes as even though we have only been on the bikes for about 15 minutes bum has fallen asleep. Here in the river and along the banks are hundreds of ducks. As we stand taking our photos and chatting to our guilds we are shown a guy coming down the river on a boat, he is a duck sheppard for want of a better title. We remount our bikes and zip along the back road until we come to an old bridge built in the 1800's. We are taken into a building and an old lady shows us how the rice is harvested and then processed. As she undertakes each task she treats us to a song. Back onto the bikes and we are off again heading back into the city now on the main roads with cars and bikes cutting in front of us from all directions. By now I'm more comfortable on the back and let go so I can take random photos as we whizz around. Before long we turn off the road and head down a narrow alley, it seems that bikes can pretty much go where ever they like in Vietnam. We stop outside a house and are ushered in by our guild. In here we are show how the Chinese hats are made by a lady who only has one hand. We finish and back on our bikes again and now it's a rush as our guild wants to take us to a special place to see the sun setting. Rushing through the town at about 40 mph and then off down some smaller streets which then turn into tracks and before long we are off roading into the hills. When we stop in the middle of a clump of trees our guild rushes us along a path and wow what a totally stunning view below us is the perfume river to the north the mountains which separate Vietnam from Lao. To the west is a range of mountains which the river snakes towards and which the sun is slowly setting. From here we leave and head off down the road and before long we stop and are shown how incense sticks are made and Sharon is given the chance to have a go. We head back to the hotel weaving through the rush hour traffic arriving back with just enough time to freshen up for dinner.
19:30 we meet in reception and head off to a local restaurant and bar called "DNZ" . The food is good as normal and after some of the group go into the pool room to play. I join them and slowly as the time moves on the group get smaller and smaller as they head back to the hotel. I'm tired and decide to have a cigarette and the head back until Simon gets the staff to put some music on, what a fatal mistake!......
It's not long before I start to get into the party mood and even though I had decided not to drink anymore tonight I order a bucket of whiskey, let the party begin. Before long we are singing, dancing and playing pool. The walls and ceiling of the bar are covered with graffiti from people who have gone into the bar and written their names and the date of their visit. The bar use this as decoration so I ask the barman if he has a couple of marker pens so the remaining 5 of us can leave our mark.
Before long we are down to 3 of us Tracy, Hans and myself we sit chatting and joking for a while and then decide that as its now heading to 1am we should start to head back. Han's decides that we should have one last drink before we leave and goes off to talk to the waiter. The next we know we are being sent down stairs for our drink as Han,s has ordered B52's. Now iv had these in the UK many times but was not expecting what came next. On the bar where 4 glasses with what I think was jägermister in. Across the top of the glasses was a piece of glass with holes in and on top of this where 4 tall up turned glasses. The barman was holding a glass of some kind of clear alcohol which he then proceeded to light. He then poured this over the top of the glass setting the whole thing alight and at that point we where give straws to drink from the bottom glasses. This was one of the most impressive drinks iv ever seen. After we leave and start heading down the street and ask say to Tracy I don't want to be a party pooper but where are we going she and Hans tell me we are going back to the hotel. I explain that that's are really good idea but we would be better off walking the other way as we are currently going in the wrong direction! We turn around and head home. I'm tired and a little drunk but today has been a really great and memorable day...........