Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rain and the Greek President

Originally posted on October 17, 2008
modified on December 3rd)
The president of greece is visiting vietnam. We run into him everywhere. He was at Ho Chi Minh's home in hanoi when we were there, at the hotel across the river from us in Hue...which restricted where our bus could go. This evening he arrived at our hotel in danang...he and about 100 reporters and another 50 or so assistants or vietnamese officials. It's a mad house in the lobby!!!!. We hope he won't be at the airport in the morning when we leave Danang (fortunately he was flying out later than we did...we did see his blue and white "OLympus" plane on the tarmac...lucky for us, he slept in...we sadly did not.

Hue was overcast and humid. Very interesting but perhaps a little too many mausoleums squished into too few hours.

Hue (Dong Ba) Market. We spent a short time in the Hue Market in a drizzle. I never had seen so many shoes in one place in my life (until I got to Saigon). I guess they have their entire inventory on display all crammed chockablock into a stand covered by blue and brown tarps. And we felt like Brad and Angelina at a movie premiere...we couldn't walk two steps without a Madam? Mousier? Mister? madam? What are you looking for? tiger balm? shoes? tshirt, 5 dollar? tiger balm? it was exhausting. I finally escaped to the produce section where they figured I wasn't in the market for anything (while Jerry was trapped by the tiger balm lady somewhere behind me). Yes we ended up coming home with tiger balm.

While in Hue we took a boat tour of the Perfume River (the main river in Hue) with its large ensemblage of boat people living along the edges of the river. We also visited the mausoleum/temple complexes opf King Tu Duc (the 4th Emperor), King Hai Dinh (the 12th Emperor) and Minh Mang (I forget which one he was). We also visited the Thien Mu Pagoda and the Citadel (or Forbidden City...what remains of it...heavily destroyed by time and battles furing the Vietnam War (referred to in Vietnam as The American War).

We flew from Hue to Danang...again in the rain. We took a quick peak at the Cham Museum in Danang which was only moderately interesting. It is interesting and a bit sad as to the condition of most museums and most collections in Vietnam. It is understandable. In fact it is commendable there are any museums and collection left in places like Danag so hard hit by decades of conflict.

It has been impressively raining all day as we explored Hoi An (just south of Danang) . But we just put on ponchos...we looked like a pack of walking easter eggs. We visited a kindergarten in a small village...I loved the kids wait until you see the pictures!!! We waded through farmers fields, excellent produce and walked through historic hoi an. We took a group cooking lesson...much fun...and got to eat what we cooked. More walking in the rain....and it rains still. A late monsoon.

We are on China Beach in danang at the lovely Furama Resort ...fortunately it was sunny yesterday and I walked on the beach and put my feet in the warm china sea.

Tomorrow we fly to can tho on the mekong delta.

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