Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hoi An to Hue on Monday

Good news that you are still able to read my blog. Thanks Heather and Carolyn for letting me know. I will keep them coming.
Huong was ready for us this morning to guide us through to Hue. Our first stop was to Marble Mountain in Danang (the first landing point in Vietnam of US soldiers) which is a Buddhist temple in a marble mountain. Many spectacular sculptures made from marble. During the war, the cave here was used as a hospital for the Viet Cong, despite there being a US military base 1 km away. The US had no idea. The mountain was a great hiding spot. Mind you, it was a steep walk for us up the steps. There is a lift for the less able. RM should have used it. His knee is stuffed. An pre existing injury, but his choice to walk the 5 km into Hoi An yesterday, is probably one he is regretting now. He will soldier on.
At Marble Mountain, there is an industry of carving from marble. All sorts of sculptures, some very traditional and religious, whilst others are very modern. OH and S rules don't apply here and the carving is an example.
From there, it was a short drive to China Beach (although it is now called Vietnam beach after a falling out with China a number of years ago). Quiet at the moment. Busy during June, July and August when it is Summer. Very hot then (40oC). School holidays then. Schools close for 3 months. It is too hot.
From there, we headed to the Cham Museum. The relics have been relocated, as many had bee damaged during the war. It is surprising that the war has been mentioned so much. It is part of their history, but you get a much greater appreciation of the damage that was done to the people and the environment.
Danang now is a prospering community, much development going on with plenty of investment from Germany.
Further on to the highlight of the day. Traveling across the Hai Van Pass. ( it means high cloud). Fortunately for us, the clouds were very high and did not interfere with our views. Quite spectacular. Some interesting driving manouvres required by our driver. It is nothing to overtake another vehicle whilst something is coming toward you. Russell described our driver as very balanced. He spent equal amounts of time on each side of the road!
There is a new development about to begin in one of the very pretty bays. It was a leper mission but they have been relocated into Danang. A new road is being built into the site. Total cost for the development is $1 billion (Singapore investment I think).
We got to Hue about 2.30. By the time we got settled and out to lunch it was about 3.30. Every hotel requires you to hand your passport over to keep till departure or else they copy it. Nearly a mutiny though after getting our rooms. Grabbos got upgraded to a suite with 2 bathrooms whilst Mozzies AC wasn't working well and we had no loo paper to start with! Fortunately we are over it. Starving by now so just as well the recommended cafe (Bananas and Mango) was across the road.
Had a wander about. Lots of pushy people today. I think we are over that too. Swim in the pool, always refreshing as it is so humid. There was some rain early this morning so that added to the humidity.
Booked to do a half day tour of the city in the morning and a dragon boat ride up the Perfume River late in the day (I don't think we have to paddle it ourselves).
Chat to you tomorrow.

Nicola, your house looks good. Very nice to have a place newly renovated.

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