Hue to go…

Puns are great. I love puns. They do rely on people understanding how to say the word in the first place though. For ages I pronounced Hue (the town in Vietnam where I sit writing this) to rhyme with Too or Sue. I even thought it might rhyme with Cue or Phew but it turns out I was wrong. It’s pronounced Hway. Not Howay like them geordies might say, but Hway. So putting that in a blog title as a pun was a bit of a risk I’ll admit. Any Hue let’s get on with it…

I arrived in Hue on the overnight train. Some of you may remember me talking about the overnight trains in Thailand and how despite some minor irritations they’re actually quite good. Overnight trains in Vietnam are not. The same things are wrong – the noise, the light, the temperature but other things annoy too, like the rock hard mattress in my so called “soft sleeper”. If that was soft, I’d hate to try to the “hard sleeper” (and yes, there is one). I just couldn’t get comfortable at all. So I arrived in Hue tired and cranky.

Then Hue turned out to be everything I feared Vietnam as a whole, and Hanoi specifically, might be (although I enjoyed Hanoi a lot). I tried to walk to the Imperial Citadel from my accommodation and almost literally every 10 metres someone was shouting at me – “Taxi”, “Motorbike”, “Speedboat”, “Come look at my shop”, “Just give me money, money money”!! It was pretty downheartening and in my tired state it just got me more and more annoyed. I eventually escaped into the Imperial Citadel itself, paid way more than I’d paid for any previous entry fee on this trip and was met with a drab, crumbling (and not a nice rustic way), almost empty and uninspiring site with more cafes and coffee shops than actual historical value. What a rubbish day. If I can’t find anything better tomorrow then I’ll be hitting the high-Hue out of here!

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