I realize it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Since we last met, our group has left Hue and is now settling in at our new hotel in Hanoi. It’s odd to think that Vietnam is just as varried when it comes to the cities as the United States is. From the hustle and bustle of Saigon we went to quiet Can Tho to the touristy area of Hue. The shops there definitely catered to the tourist set because of all the tailor-made clothing shops and restaurants that offered pizza and pasta.
Despite this fact, Hue was a city that most of us fell in love with. We were in one of the nicest hotels in the city which had a dock in the Perfume river. The setting of our entire stay was idyllic. I also got to experience some exciting new things, like riding on a motorbike and being driven around in a trishaw. Although I know my mother would freak out, the motorbike was one of the most amazing experiences ever. Throughout every city, the main mode of transportation is the motorbike. Although Harley drivers everywhere curse their existence, they’re much more affordable than a car and much more practical in the crowded cities. Our professors nearly had a heart attack during our ride because half of our drivers abandoned their orders and, at our encouragement, started to race one another.
Despite my mild adrenaline addiction, I enjoyed the ride because of the opportunity that it offered. I was able to travel like the majority of the Vietnamese people. Instead of being boxed into the bus, we were in the open air as we passed rice paddies, rivers and shops selling incense (just to name a few sites). What’s more, the motorbike drivers hung out outside of our hotel for our entire stay, so we were able to say “hi” to them and know someone in the city even after they’d gotten their tip. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sites we’ve visited. I’ve seen the tombs of emperors and temples surrounded by myth and they’ve all taken my breath away. However the journey to some of these places has really helped satiate my thirst for experiencing the true culture of Vietnam.