Saturday, October 24, 2009
Hue - Bi-Annual World Music Festival
Hue is the Imperial City of Vietnam. It's on the central coast and every two years they have a wonderful music festival with dancers and musicians and singers coming in from all over the world. It began on June 3, 2008 and lasted for nine days, and I just happened to be there at that time and caught the activities. I met up with my bf Nicki from Taiwan, and we rented a scooter and went everywhere. There was so much to see and it was such an unbelievable city I never wanted to leave. It's just one place you'll never forget once you've been there.
I stayed on Le Loi St. at Ty's Guesthouse, on the main drag up from the train station. Two sisters owned it and they regaled us with stories of their childhood spent diving into bomb shelters to avoid the American bombs that were raining down on the city for days at a time. The Americans almost destroyed the Royal Palace and the Citadel and they were heavily damaged, but not destroyed. The sisters were fascinating, yet as with all sisters, there was some friction there. Ty made the best pancake breakfasts ever and if I had stayed longer I probably would have gained 20 pounds.
Here's my room at $4/night and my view from the balcony overlooking the backyards of Hue. Also in the picture is Eric, a German who had been away from Germany for years, but we had a lot of interesting conversations because he was so into conspiracies.
Look at how fabulous the roads are in Hue, just perfect for motoring around all day, stopping to have coffee or shopping at an open-air market. There were decorations everywhere on account of the music festival, such as lotus flowers floating the length of the Perfume River in front of Hue. They were lit up at night, a warm shade of pink, but the traffic was also lit at night, it was sheer pandemonium, and while I sat on the back taking pics, Nicki drove through it to the musical festival at the Palace.
These horses dangled on overhead wires next to the Perfume Bridge.
The beach was about a 20-minute scooter ride from the center of town and it was deserted, only a few vendors hiking up and down the beach selling drinks and chips. There are some outdoor restaurants (very primitive) beside the beach that serve food, but if you stop there and don't buy anything, they'll still expect you to pay for the parking of your bike. Find out how much to pay first, or they'll stiff you when you leave. That's life!
These kids were touting it for Kentucky Fried Chicken. We had a debate as to whether it's good for Vietnam to let these fast food giants into the country or keep them out. It's the lack of these consumer eyesores that make Vietnam so wonderful, plus the food in Vietnam is great - and inexpensive. But then, these kids have never seen otherwise, and like many people in developing countries, they want it just like it is in America. How to convince them to keep Vietnam as it is? It's just really a shame that some countries are 'sold' on American culture at the detriment of their own.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
Mark Twain - Innocents Abroad
Posted by Nancy O.