We started the day, much as the previous one had ended, as we continued on a gruelling 18 hour bus ride, which took us through the winding traffic filled streets and then out into rural Vitetnam. Various near misses, stints on the wrong side of the road and continuous blaring of car horns later, we were dropped off in the seemingly rundown area of Hoi An, famed for its tailors and dressmakers. Our time here was to be shortlived however as a couple of confusing hours later, we were hurried back on board hurtling northbound, past acres and acres of paddy fields on route to Hue.
On reaching our destination, it must be said we were quite disappointed with what we saw. Not helped by the icy wind and drizzly rain and the fact that we had nowhere booked to stay for the night, the town was much dirtier and clearly much more poverty stricken than those we had experienced further south. Following the lead of Natasha and Christian, a Canadian couple we had met on board, we found a large room at the end of an alley, which much to our dismay could not provide us with heating or extra blankets.
Undeterred we decided to head out nonetheless to find something to love about this ramshackle town, nestled on the banks of the Mekong. After a warm drink in Sam's bar, complete with a shot of brandy (wonder where I got that idea from?!) and a quick read of the scrawl written all over the wall (patrons were encouraged to leave their mark quite literally with marker pen on any available blank space they cpuld find, be it wall, table, ceiling or light fitting!) we crossed the river to the market.
Having survived Chanutak Market in Bangkok, we thought any market would be far easier to withstand than that. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case. Due to it getting ever closer to Tet, or Vietnamese New Year, the stalls were packed and crammed so after purchasing a genuine bamboo conical hat, as worn by the locals to protect them from both sun and rain, we made for a hasty escape. Not hasty enough it would seem, as a rat ran over our foot on the way out! DISGUSTING!!
Completely deterred and feeling dirty after our brush with the market's wildlife, we went home for a quick meal at a local cafe and a long if lukewarm shower!