Sunday, December 30, 2012

An overnight bus later....

My isle buddy
The bus was suprisingly painless.  After some initial frustration (me) of not being able to find a seat next to eachother, Paul and I settled into two seats front to back to eacth other in the back of the bus.  This actually worked out well, but let me first describe the bus layout.  Picture summercamp with bunk beds but on a bus.  There were three rows across and two layers; a top and bottom.  Everyone had their own kind of compartment, feet covered, and then you could lay your seat all the way almost flat- over the person behind you's covered feet compartment.  We were in the back on the bottom which meant easy bathroom (ew) access and we still had window seats.  As with all buses in less developed parts of the world, they aren't filled until you can't possibly squish in one more soul.  We stopped and picked up god knows who, who all lined the floor in between seats.  India style. 

I fell asleep pretty early, and remember waking up at some point in the night and all the isle sleepers were gone.  Another point in the night some guy unloaded what must have been 30 boxes from out of nowhere and pushed them individually down the isle.  Scratch, scratch, scratch for what seemed like several hours.  Back to sleep and we were at our first and only stop at 7:30 am.  And just a short 2 hours later we arrived in grey Hue. 

Hue is a cute little town built around and old Cirtadel which is built around another Citadel; the purple forbidden city.  We spent the first part of the day poking around the Citadels, saw and elephant inside, and then it started raining.  We spent the better part of the second half of the day exploring the local cuisine and then hit up a salon for pedicure (me) and a foot massage (Paul). 
Cutest little baby

Next day was the best day; motobike day!  We hired two motorbikes, complete with drivers (safety first), and head out on a beautifully sunny morning for Hoi An.  This was the first sunny and hot day we experienced and it was just perfect to spend it on the back of a bike!  We stopped by a fishing village, drove through thẻ countryside, stopped for a seafood lunch, drove up a mountain, stopped in the clouds at an old US military bunker, drove down the mountain, stopped at China Beach in DaNang (which is gorgeous!), and finally pulled into Hoi An a mere 4 hours later.  There's just something about being out in the open that makes you feel like you're expereiencing the country that much more than just from a bus window.  And the countryside was absolutely gorgeous.  Green palm trees in front of green mountains, with cows, chickens, ducks, dogs and water buffalo in the mix.  We zoomed past trucks and buses, pased motorbikes carying dead chickens and pigs, and totally loved every rock taken in the eye.  Next time bring sunglasses. 

Hoi An!

Japanese Bridge

New 'Raybans' on the river

As much fun as that was, we were in for such a treat in Hoi An.  It's the 'intellectual, architechtural, and spirittual' centre of Vietnam according to Lonely Planet, and I couldnt agree more.  It's a beautiful old city, still in tact, filled with temples, restaurants, shops, tailors (overwhelmingly so), and tourists.  And it's all based around this lovely river covered in lanters and awesome little junk boats!  Our driver dropped us off at a fine little hotel with pool; had we known it would be so much warmer just 150km south, we would have brought our bathing suits!  We immediatley went to get custom made clothes (says the kid who lives in Hong Kong); Paul a tan sport jacket and me jeans, and then explored the quaint old town.  Shopping, shopping and mỏe shopping!  Love our new clothes and love Hoi An.  If we had to do this trip all over again, I would have flown into Hoi An (or somewhere nearby) rented a bike or motorbike to hit the beach (5km away) everyday, and shop and eat every night.  Then spend a few dáy in DaNang, back to Hoi An and out.  Just beautiful!  And the sun đin't hurt none either!

Sunny when we left Hoi An

Rainy and miserable post tunnel back on the Hue side
1:30 the next day and we bussed it back to Hue where ít has been violently raining and winding ever since.  Today we spent blogging, eating, and wiating for another 11 hour (13+) overnight bus back to Hanoi.  I'm so happy we got to see so much of the country ín such a small time, and even mỏe happy that Paul is totally loving it too!

Had THE best seafood noodles this am for break.  And a donus filled with a meatball.  ha <3 Vietnam

Hanoi or bust!

PS I am rocking the most fantastic outfit today.   The weather has dropped 5 degrees C since AM so instead of changing I just add layers.  Spandex, shorts, flops.  Long sleeve, t-shirt, sweater, vest.  Gonna break out the scarf soon.

I have since added Paul's argyle socks and yellow balerina flats.

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