Friday, 22 October 2010


It is taking me some time to get used to this. Yesterday I had a guide for the day, and at the end I gave him a tip. Working it out later I had given him less than $1. Is it more insulting to not tip at all or to do it badly? I have no idea.

The pace in Hue is far more relaxed. It is a place I would be happy to see on a hired bicycle but on this visit I am travelling in an airconditioned car with a guide. I got a 6.30 am flight from Ha Noi and the guide was waiting at the airport with a sign. The agency had booked me into the Ngoc Huong Hotel - probably my last experience of the 3-star level of accommodation, I prefer the laid-back feeling of the budget place I was at in Ha Noi, and of course I'd be happy with 5 star. When I am reborn as the wife of a wealthy expat, that is.

So today's mission was to have rice noodle soup for breakfast. I have to admit I also had plenty of baguette with pineapple jam, so perhaps it was a very small step.

In Hue the deal is, a trip on the Perfume River by dragon boat, a tour of the Imperial Palace where the Emporers lived and ruled throughout the eighteenth century, a visit to a Buddhist monastery and some tombs. Oh, and a walk through the busy market - quite good to have a guide for that. My guide has a degree in tourism from the University here in Hue. Later today we drive to Marble Mountain, and over the pass to Hoi An, stopping in Da Nang for some more sightseeing.

There is a gallery and workshop over the road where beautiful young girls in colourful Ao Dai sit in breezy comfort painstakingly embroidering the finest and most beautiful paintings. I can't help but think that the girls are only the front-line of these delicate and intricate productions. You can see some here

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