[NOTE: When we traveled to Vietnam in 2009, I used Posterous for a lot of the photo hosting for this blog, because it as an easy way email photos from my phone.
With the subsequent death of Posterous, now most of my Vietnam travel posts
have broken image links... I have the photos still, but it will take
some time to recreate the visual narratives... Apologies for broken
Backtracking a few days, here are some pics from our 2nd day in Hue -- rented bicycles, braved the traffic (not so bad like Saigon or Hanoi, but still a little alarming, especially on wobbly rented bicycles) and crossed the river to get out of the tourist areas. Explored and found a lake in the citadel area in a residential neighborhood that was definitely off the tourist track. Also took an hour or so cyclo ride in some of the less touristy areas of Hue.
Ate lunch here -- it was packed with locals when we sat down. We were some of the last to leave. Here, it's all cleaned up (there had been napkins all over the floor, which apparently is a sign of a good place).
Spotted this along the way -- a full PA system being hauled on a cyclo:
Didn't have to go too far to get out of the tourist areas -- the Citadel side of the Perfume River is a lot quieter, once you get away from the Imperial Enclosure. We rode around for a couple of hours and saw few westerners:
Quiet lake we found while exploring bicycling. I'm guessing the platform had a temple or pagoda on it once upon a time:
After bicycling for a while (which was somewhat relaxing, but also somewhat nervewracking -- in order to get across the river to the quiet areas, we had to wade through some pretty heavy motorbike traffic), we decided to take a short cyclo ride -- a lot of the drivers speak enough English that they can act as a tour guide, and though we'd already seen enough of the official "sights," we thought it would be cool to have them take us around for a half hour or so anyway, again maybe a little off the beaten path. It's a nice, relaxing way to be in the traffic and be able to take it all in, without having to negotiate the traffic like we did on the bicycles...
I had met my cyclo driver earlier in the day -- he had been following me from shop to shop trying to talk me into hiring him for a cyclo ride (I was something like a block from the hotel, so wasn't interested at the time). But I ended up talking to him for a bit. When he asked where I was from, and I said "U.S.", he gave a big thumbs up and said, "Obama! I like Obama!" Said he's seen Obama and his daughters on TV, and he seems like a good family man. Won me over, so when we decided to take a ride later that day, we looked around for him until we found him again. He grabbed a friend to drive Daniel around. Here's just a couple of pics. We had a really interesting time riding with them and talking to them, since it gave us a chance to ask "What's that sign say?" "What's that big building over there?" I have some other pics and videos I'll post later.
Kids we came across during a short stop on the cyclo ride, on the other side of the river. A lot of the kids we met when we got off the tourist track were really friendly and eager to talk to us, wanting to use their little bit of English (generally just "Hello! Hello!"):
Fresh-made incense drying, here more or less in someone's backyard:
Here, incense drying in front of a Buddhist temple. We peeked inside -- the monks were playing football/soccer in the enclosed yard:
Daniel's cyclo driver in the striped shirt -- we're crossing the river back on our way back to the busy side at the end of our ride: