Accommodation: Hongthien Hotel, $10 a night private ensuite, hongthienhotel.com
Bus: Travel Pass, $25 throughout Vietnam, 5 stops, 13 hours
Places to Visit:
- Forbidden City
- Tomb of Tu Duc
- Thien Mu Pagoda
- Thuan An Beach
It was luxury, arriving at a hotel, with my own bed, mini fridge, bathroom and HBO cable TV. I was doomed to never go out. The night times consisted of movie marathons, however utterly rubbish the film was. The day times were a little more productive...making my way to the Demilitarised Zones. Going through the underground tunnels and Ho chi Minh trail- consisted of rather interesting underground tunnels, where the tiny Vietnamese lived for 6 years in miniature spaces. It only barely managed to fit my height, so explains how antlike it was (yes yes I know I am vertically challenged.) Then to see the remains of American bombs and fighter jets, was happy to get some insight but the guide was totally unintelligible, her English was pretty bad and forgot to pronounce many of her consonants ie. the tunnels became 'Tunna.''
What else from Hue? The cyclo driver who said he would give a free ride one night, at the end opened out his hand and asked for 50 dong (about $1.70) its not much but he actually tried to dip his hand into my purse! A polite slap on the wrist set him right. Then I was befriended by a waitress who said that she wanted to go to the beach with me as it was her day off, and she wanted a fun girly day out. She then fed me at her house in the village out of Hue, it was a tin hut with one room for 6 people and her dog was evil, but it was a day of appreciation for the local life and the food was fab. The next day I did something out of the ordinary. I behaved and my mother would be proud...I took a Vietnamese cooking lesson! It was pretty awesome, going out to the markets, buying local ingredients and then testing out our culinary skills. The menu was fried and fresh spring rolls, beef noodle soup and Banh Xeo , a traditional Vietnamese pancake with shrimps, pork and veg all wrapped up. Yummy.
That's where I met my adopted mothers. I met these two lovely women in the cooking class, they were from New Zealand and were sisters in law. Being my mum's age they took care of me like their little cub or puppy (if you prefer.) They invited me to their hotel's dinner event, quite swanky, where they were staying and we watched live entertainment. It was traditional dancing and singing, and amazing instruments, topped off with kareoke of course. It was spectacular! The food was all you can eat, and literally there were bbq, Japanese, Chinese, continental food, rows and rows of desserts...I stocked up on my food intake for sure for the next few days. So New Years was tame that's for sure and the complete opposite of Christmas.