I got a good eight hours sleep on the train, even if I did have an aching back from being hunched up all night. One of the train employees came into our cabin around 8am. He gave us a five minute warning that we’d soon be arriving at Hue station. With a quick packing of our bags, we jumped down from our beds and lined up with everyone else in anticipation. When the train finally came to a halt I struggled with both bags down the narrow aisle, then the few steps to freedom. The pair of us left the station only to be approached by a taxi driver offering to take us to our hotel. Being some what cautious of friendly people offering lifts (from our experiences of Hanoi), we approached his vehicle and asked how much it would cost. He told us it would be 70,000 dong for the pair of us, after reading in the lonely planet book it should cost 12,000 per kilometre, we decided it was a reasonable price. He drove us all of three kilometres down the street and dropped us at the door. He gave us his business card in case we required his services again, the pair of us then made our way into our new home.
There were a few different rooms offered to us. The one which we had booked (which contained to single beds), an option to upgrade to a bigger room, or a final room with a double bed. After having breakfast, we chose to move to the one with a double bed, as this one was the same price as our original room. We had to wait thirty minutes before our room was ready, we used that time to watch the movie “The Help,” from the comfort of the single beds. After it finished we returned to the lobby where we were escorted to our new room. Fortunately, this hotel had an elevator, when we were in and settled we spent the next four hours watching movies on tv.
When we had enough of films (if that’s ever possible) we made our way down to the main desk. Here we were given a map and shown places of interest. We decided to walk to the market, which was ten minutes away by foot. As we stepped outside we were confronted by a man on a pedicab. If you can imagine the offspring of a taxi and bicycle you’ll know what I am talking about. The guy riding this contraption decided to follow us up the road and around the corner, all the way asking us if we wanted a lift. After the fifteenth time of saying “NO”, I think he got the point. It was funny to see this, as just before we left our room I had read in the lonely planet guide that it was a common sight to see people being harassed by these guys. Hue (pronounced Hway, for those that are interested) is a beautiful quaint little town. As we walked to the market it was even more glorious in the dazzling glow of the afternoon’s setting sun. To get to the market we had to cross a long bridge, which happened to be packed with commuting scooters. Fortunately for us there were walkways either side. We eventually made it across and explored the many pathways of the market. The locals sold a variety of food items from fish to fruit. During our visit, I bought a kilo worth of apples and a giant bag of nuts, both of which were sold for a similar price as back home.
With nuts in tow we made a start on our return journey, however hunger got the better of me so we stopped in KFC. Surprisingly, the KFC franchise in Asia is just like the ones back home, unlike the McDonald’s and Burger King’s. This is probably because the people know how to cook chicken, on accounts of it being in most oriental dishes. After eating the fast food meal we made our way back across the bridge. On the other side we stopped in a tourist travel agents to get better informed on the day trips Hue had to offer. We didn’t book anything, instead, we left with some pamphlets and decided to get some food to better think about our options. Sarah was feeling peckish by this point, so we stopped in a restaurant called “why not?” This place sold traditional Vietnamese dishes, which Sarah was eager to try after missing out on the street food in Hanoi, which the place is supposedly renowned for. I decided to be daring and ordered the peanut butter milkshake. When the food and drink arrived I’ve got to say I was disappointed with both. The food tasted like perfume and the shake like banana. After we paid the bill, we then returned to the hotel and booked a full day trip through them for the next day. We put the trip on our tab and returned to our room in the hopes of getting an early night, ready for our 7am start. Wouldn’t you know it, that plan went out the window the second we turned on the telly….. It was midnight before we switched off, damn you HBO.