Friday, September 12, 2008

Days 17-18: Hue and Hoi An, Vietnam

So I am seeing more of Vietnam than I ever expected. The journey from Hanoi to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is about 1,900 km (or about 1,200 miles). It's a long, long way. I booked an open-bus ticket for $33 but had no idea that we change buses along the way. So we ended up stopping in Hue, which was a big city but not one that is particularly interesting. We (me and a couple from Argentina) ended up hiring a group on motorbikes to drive us around to all the main attractions over the course of 3.5 hours for about $7 per person. We saw the main sights and got on the bus to Hoi An, from which a bus departs for Saigon.

Well, as it appeared, one needs to register his/her ticket in most locations to be allowed to board the next bus to whatever location. I didn't know this, and although I had a ticket, I was not allowed to board the bus to Saigon.

So here I am in a Hostelling International licensed hostel in historic Hoi An. I've got a friendly staff and a nice room with two double beds, a bathroom with bath, TV, and fan for just $8. And internet is free; laundry is cheap as usual.

Can't say that I regret being here, not that I have much of a choice. But I will finally get to sleep normally after spending about 20 hours on a bus. And my room is nice, as is the city. The bus from Hue to Hoi An was great, too: it was a sleeper bus, so it had plastic bunk bed-like compartments, which allow the travelers to literally sleep lying down 180-degrees while the bus travels. So those 4 hours went my very fast.

The weather was bad in Hue, so the photos turned out okay, but they could have been better. I'll upload some pics of Hue and/or Hoi An tomorrow. At 6 p.m., I will finally board the bus to Saigon, where, due to these unexpected delays, I will only get to spend one night, alas.

P.S. The day before I was in Hanoi, where I was a big Lenin statue. Interesting.

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