Greetings all,
Well we have spent a few days in isn't all that and a bag of potato chips but has it's interesting parts all the same. There is alot of ancient chinese history in this city which is fascinating. We visited the citadel in which stands the emperors forbidden palace. We though we were special for a minute when we were let in, but apon seeing other tourists inside, we realised the name was all for effect....what a sham! We have been on a couple of tours in the last few days; the DMZ (demilitarised zone tour) and today the perfume river tour. The DMZ wa interesting, we visited 'the rockpile' a group of mountains stripped bare from agent orange, Khe sanh, (i couldn't get the song out of my head for at least 3 hours) which was the largest naval base in southern Vietnam, then onto the vin moc tunnels which were built by villagers during the war to shelter from bombs. The tunnels housed hundreds of people and buried as far as 35 metres underground. The villagers lived underground for 5 years. It is quite amazing! The perfure river tour was nice though we couldn't afford to visit all the attactions. We saw the making of conical hats and inscence (bec and i had a go rolling the inscence...we did good!) oh yeah, and 'many many pagoda!'

looooong bus ride tonight to hanoi,

so long,

Hue are outta here!

Sorry, once we leave Hue the puns will stop. Because puns are very Hanoiing. Get it?? That's where we're going next!! We're only crashing there one night then we're training to Lao Cai and bussing to Sapa. We are told it will be cooler. Yay!

We went pagoda-ing today and it rained heaps which was great! Big fat drops. We got a motorbike to some incense maker people stalls (they called this a village but i didn't see any villagers villaging) and it was great riding in the rain. Air conditioning at it's best. We purchased plastic ponchos to keep us dry, but in the end we just used them to cover our bags. Getting wet is much more fun.

My iPod is misbehaving and crashing everytime I do a transfer. It also periodically forgets that there are any photos on it at all, which is disconcerting. Ten gig and two weeks of photography are very precious to me. I have been unsucessful at finding anyone with a dvd burner, so backing up would require hours of cd burning and reshuffling of files.

I would like to find a supermarket before the bus ride to replace my now black facewasher and maybe stock up on pringles for the trip. The pringles available on the street have all faded in the sun and we suspect they may be stale . . . But supermarket's are rare and I can imagine our whole conversation with whoever we ask. They'll send us to Dong Ba Market for some pretzels or something.

There's no ATM in Sapa, but we'll see how we go with internet. I am screwed on the photo front without a computer.

See you later, hue?
- Bec

PS people: Identify yourselves better. We don't know who's dad belongs to who. OMG! We just saw a portable laminator walking down the street. It has it's own soundtrack! Yesterday we saw a woman sitting on the bridge, in front of a set of scales. And i'm all, hmm, have i lost weight or put it on. And how much am i willing to pay to find out? Is this a long PS? Too bad.

Hooray for Hue!!

Yes that title does rhyme when pronounced correctly.
We arrived here yesterday afternoon after a 3 hour bus ride. The ride wasn't too bad, we got to see alot of the countryside which is covered with rice fields, pagodas and the occasional catholic curch. The people here are always working from the crack of dawn (around 5am) and all day till around 10pm, we often stumble into a restaurant or shop where people are having a deserving nap and have to wake up to serve us.
Hue is built on an a river with the city on both sides of the bank, the beach is around 14km away. This afternoon we are going to visit a citadel which was built for the emporer and have a wander around, i would like to go to the beach at some point and bathe my wounds it is looking awful!
Anyway back to the bus ride; We were quite annoyed at the service here as the bus keeps dropping us off at hotels that pay the bus company commissions. There is always a long line of scouts waiting where the bus stops to get us to go to their hotel, so, out of principal we braved the heat (and my full bladder) and set off to find our own hotel. Unfortunatly for us we picked a shit one that leaked and is mouldy, but at least we feel proud that we have stood up for the non-commission paying hotels and us un-suspecting travelers that were told that we would be dropped off at the bus depot!
We are exactly half way through our journey and we (well def me) are having a brilliant time!!
bye for now

Hue to go!

Hue isn't that hot, well its bloody hot, but it's not that great. We're officially shitty with our bus company for dropping us off outside a hotel that pays commisions instead of their ticket office like they said. We're also officially shitty with guys also collecting commisions by following you down the street and recommending a hotel. Literally following. One guy got on his bike and met us again three blocks away. They drop you off at reception, disappear and come back later for a reward. If we got the room that is, which we won't, on principle alone. One guy said six dollars for a triple room, and we're all, hey man that worth checking out even if it is a load of crap. So we get to reception and the woman says 12 dollars so we don't say anything and just turn around and walk out. Hopefully when the guy goes back to collect, she'll crack the shits at him and they'll both have learnt a lesson.

We eventually found an okay place, but its more hotel than guesthouse, which is really crap, i've decided. You never see the same person at reception twice and when we complained about our leaky bathroom, we had to tell the story to six different people and none of them knew what we were talking about. Another drawback is you have to put up with tourists taking 30 minutes to get their huge group down the stairs (right next to our room) and argueing about the best way to do this the whole time. Then someone is trying to get into our room, fiddling with the doorknob (the one that's threatening to fall off anyway) at 10:30 at night. So i rush over a grab the handle and swing the door open real fast like (i thought it was unnattended children) And there's this guy there (and about 5 other adults and 5 or 6 kids, clogging the hallway with their bags) trying to open OUR door with HIS key that was probably for some OTHER hotel or something.

Grr. But for ten dollars a night, we can't be bothered finding another place, we won't stay long here anyway. Did i mention the leak was from the air-conditioning? There's a valve missing or something. So we had a river of water going from one corner of our bathroom to the other. We eventually got given another room. They gave us a choice between the cheaper one with no bathtub or the better one with two double beds. I'll let you guess which one we took.

So just as soon as I'm finished with my bitching, we're heading across river to check out the citadel, and we might book a tour to the DMZ for tomorrow. Demilitarised zone. Don't let the name fool you, there will land mines a-plenty.


Blah... Hue

Blah. Hue. I'm bored. Don't care.
This place is fairly uninspiring. There's the Citadel, which sounds big and scary but is probably just a wire fence. There the DMZ (Demilitarised Zone) pretty close by, I'm gonna go into those tunnel things, fire an AK-47 and jump on some mines. Or maybe I'll just visit Khe Sahn and make a silly video to put to some awful pub-rock music.
Whatever. It's hot. I fell asleep after lunch. I've started eating western food again, because 2 weeks of nothing but noodles and rice and spring rolls actually gets old. I'm sick of Cyclos, and motorbikes and being hassled to buy something. We should have stayed longer in Saigon. Next trip I suggest we try to head south as quickly as possible.

- Paul
Hue (yawn)