Saturday, February 5, 2011
Four Vietnam: Drops of Hue
In Hue it rained, and most of what I saw was filtered through a café window. I never had to brave any downpours; instead the clouds decided to drip just enough to discourage too much exploring. I embarked on two expeditions to the Citadel, Hue’s old walled imperial city, and turned back both times. (This was due to a combination of rain and a general lack of interest in seeing the country’s tallest flagpole – which I was able to glimpse from afar, in any case.) I did enjoy walking along the banks of the Perfume River, a wide expanse blanketed in mist and dotted with colorful tourist boats, but the raindrops made me pay for the sight.
So really, I didn’t do much in Hue. I sat down with endless cups of Vietnamese coffee and wrote in my journal and read Banana Yoshimoto’s N.P. I tried to stay warm. I ignored the sounds filtering through the inexplicable window that linked my bathroom to the hotel room next door. Pretty soon it was time to go, and with a handful of peanuts and a squished butter cake (a gift from Hai) to sustain me, I boarded my last bus. My final stop was that fabled capital of old Indochina, city of lakes and temples: Hanoi.