Monday, November 24th, 2003 – Day 279

Monday, November 24th, 2003 – Day 279

My bus was at 1.30pm. I wanted to get up at 7.00am to see the market again. I looked out and the window and it was pouring down rain. It was not like the soft rain we have in Ireland but buckets full. There was no way I could walk out in that. I stayed in the hotel packing until 11.00am when a break in the weather came. I headed down town but it started raining again. I retreated back, wet. There was little to do but wait for the bus to collect me for the four hour bus journey.

It was not a pleasant journey. I was wet and it was terrible weather as we climbed over valleys and hills. We stopped once but it was stormy outside. There were 5 people on the bus and every body was reading. I recently swapped my copy of Stupid White Men and Damage for PORNO by Irvine Walsh of trainspotting fame. Indeed this is a sequel to Trainspotting and reunites the gang as they pursue another big-payoff scheme. I am enjoying it so far.

We came across an a accident which must have happened only seconds before so. Visibility was bad and it was scary looked at the rocks and stormy sea below. A guy in a motorbike had been knocked down by a min van. His bike was underneath and he was on the ground with his clothes in tatters and his scandals thrown off. He was in pain but conscious. He looked pretty bad and it was pissing down. People were taking little notice. I was told by an Irish girl last week that she witnessed two accidents in Laos. She said local people don’t give a toss. In both cases it was tourists who organized transport to a hospital. One guy was German, people tried to kick his wallet and belongings when he crashed. He was in a bad way and the Irish girl had to pay big time for a taxi to take him to a hospital. There, they would not treat him until she paid them 40 USD. They had to make a hole in his skull to release pressure. She also had to pay for transport (car) back to Bangkok. She said locals kicked the other crash victims stuff as well.

Anyway it was 5.45pm when I got to hue. Again we were brought to the Sinh Cafe hotel. It was still raining. I looked at their 8 USD room which was OK but no satellite TV. I wanted to stay here at least four days for Rest and Recreation, so it was a requirement. I left my bag there and headed 400m to a cluster of backpacker hotels. As it is low season, there are deals to be had. You can get a fan room with satellite TV for 5 USD. I looked at three hotels and picked a 6 USD room as it had a window. The cute girl who showed me the room was a factor too.

It had pissed rain from 7.00am this morning when I looked out the window to bed time. I spent two hours on the NET publishing the BLOG for the past seven days and had dinner. There are a number of tourist cafes and tour companies in fierce competition in this area and prices are cheap as can be. I had stir fried vegetables and steamed rice with fresh banana shake for 15,000 Dong (.90 cent).

I was in bed by 11.00pm. I watched some crappy film about the Mercury Programme called the Race to Space. Very crap even if it stars James Woods.

Hue (pronounced “hway”) was once Vietnam’s imperial city, the capital of the country from 1802 to 1945 under the Nguyen Dynasty. Culturally and historically, it might be the most important city in the entire country. While much of it (tragically including most of Vietnam’s walled citadel and imperial city) was decimated during the French and American wars, there is still much to see. One of the most interesting sights is simply daily life on the Perfume River, a malange of dragon and houseboats and longtail vessels dredging for sand. You’ll visit many of the attractions, including the tombs of Nguyen Dynasty emperors, by boat. The enjoyable town has a seaside-resort sort of air, with a laid-back attitude; low-slung, colorful colonial-style buildings; and strings of lights at outdoor cafes at night. There are many local cuisine specialties to sample as well.

  • The BBC investigates how Thailand is faring in its fight to stop the counterfeiting of music, films and software.

  • You may have read my account of a shooting in the Cambodian Capitol while I was here. It is good to now read that the nephew of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has been arrested for allegedly taking part in that shooting spree in the capital last month that left at least two people dead. According to police, Hun Sen’s nephew fired an automatic rifle at passers-by. The authorities believe he may have been angry or drunk.

  • I see Ireland is at the forefront in adopting kids from Vietnam.

    While former war foe America is a key destination for Vietnamese adoptees, even countries with apparently scant connections have become keen participants. Ireland saw nearly 100 Vietnamese adoptions last year, up from about 20 in 2001. “As our country has become more prosperous in recent years, the Irish people have started to look to adopt children outside of Ireland,” Daniel Mulhall, Irish ambassador to Vietnam, said at the adoption pact signing in Hanoi. “There are relatively few Irish children available for adoption,” he said.

  • Vietnam looks to join the World Trade Organization.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Hoi An – Nice eh (24-11-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Hoi An – Nice eh …; but wet this morning (24-11-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Hoi An – Nice eh but wet (24-11-2003)