it was Saturday, we were able to take a sight-seeing trip to Hue
(pronounced “Hway”). Hue is the location where the King/Emperor
lived back in the 1900s-1920s.
Today (19 May 2012) would have been Ho Chi Minh's 122nd birthday. Flags and banners have been raised through-out the country to celebrate this.
first stop sight-seeing was the King's tomb. It is in the
mountainous area, the location felt very peaceful and isolated:
of the interior of this room and one other is done in base relief
with cut glass and porcelain. It reminded us all of French
palaces. The amount of work necessary to create the sculptures must
have been immense. Every flat surface in the room is covered in cut
glass and porcelain.
One thing that is very interesting about
Vietnam is that its architecture and rulers were influenced by
French, Chinese, and Japanese styles. This shows through in every
spot we visited today.
After a lunch stop, we continued on to
Our first stop in Hue was a monastery which had a
couple of pagodas. Here, the style was distinctly
last stop for the day was the King's residence. The residence
is behind a garrison (which reminded me of Fort Sumter) and takes up
a huge amount of space inside the city. Most of the residence
buildings are no longer standing, having been first destroyed during
the war with the French in the 1940s and then again damaged during
the American War during the 1960s.
just so you don't think things are completely normal here, here are
two pictures for some fun. First, an example of livestock
was within the city of Hue. Also note the train tracks -
everything is narrow gauge here.
And finally - while you see a
fair share of cattle used in the rice fields, there is also quite a
bit of a different domesticated animal - water buffalo. Here is
a picture of one which was quite close to the road:
roads here are, well, not so great. The road we took from Da
Nang to Hue is pretty much the only way to get there and is clogged
with tour buses, trucks, and motorbikes. As the travel time
showed, average speed is pretty slow.
It is amazing to see how
hard the people work here. Much of the crop management is done
by hand. Rice is by far the dominant agricultural crop and
fishing is the next biggest industry. And the fishing is done
either using large nets or from very small boats (not much bigger
than canoes). The challenges for Vietnam start to really show
when traveling in the countryside. The country is beautiful,
but day-to-day life is still somewhat primitive.