Freedom on two wheels…

Wednesday, April 23

Last week, we spontaneously changed our plans once more. Originally, we planned on staying here in the hotel the last six days. We thought it would be nice with the pool, the little garden, the small garden bar and the delicious Saigon coffee, the somewhat special breakfast…

But the two men from “Hue riders” convinced us – also in their own interest of course – that it would be a shame to spend a whole six days only in Hue… Basically, we already knew this, but after this train ride our desire to get there and stay for a while was the decisive factor… Thus, we once more stick to our three-day rhythm…

Before telling you about our tour of the citadel, there is another curious fact I want to mention: All of the Vietnamese men have a very meticulous haircut, even at the roots, there is no hair growing in the wrong place. And if there is, it is instantly plucked with a pair of tweezers – as I hope I noticed correctly today in the medicine street… Maybe one day I’ll pluck up my courage to ask one of the men about that…

By the way, today we didn’t hear any German spoken around us either. Here at the pool everybody speaks English or French… During yesterday’s dinner in the garden we could enjoy a Vietnamese birthday party: People kept drinking to each other’s health and walking around the long table in order to leave nobody out – they did this again and again. But in between there are lyrical renditions. A man, who was already recognizable as an artist by his longer hair (which is so rare here), first gave away two of his own books as presents and then read and sang from them. He also played the flute very well – much to our delight.

Wednesday, 04/23/09. For the last time we are sitting in the magnificent hotel garden with all the paper lanterns and light chains. We already ate, now Jens is trying to procure some water and maybe chocolate – talk about cravings… But considering that it was at least 34 °C again today – where to find chocolate… in its solid form…?!
By the way: our insect repellent does indeed seem to work pretty well, we could test it today: I had put some on, Jens hadn’t and was counting his bites…

So today we were sitting on our motorbikes with our Hue riders and we appreciated the air stream – it was soooo hot…
From Hue we went to the beautifully situated Thien Mu Pagoda right above the perfume river, then to the greenhouses, another pagoda, whose name I don’t recall but the atmosphere of which I will remember, then through the rice fields which are colored in light green and yellow shades. Visiting a rice museum was a very touching experience: an old, crookbacked but very friendly lady showed us all of the different steps in harvesting and working the rice. She wanted me to try it, too, and of course I did with a lot of laughter and admiration.

Thien Mu Pagoda

Thien Mu Pagoda

Tomorrow I will ask Tom about the old lady’s completely black teeth, which reminds me: I informed myself about the vain men and their hair… Only the single grey hairs are plucked – and this goes for the women as well. They often take care of it in public, just whenever they find time to do so. It looks so endearing…

Apropos endearing care: Jens found some chocolate – hazelnuts covered in chocolate, 100% cocoa. He is my hero! The only problem: the box has to get empty today as tomorrow we are going to leave Hue and drive up into the mountains with the two Hue riders…

Okay, now I will give in to the temptation of the chocolate and the necessary rice schnapps.

Greetings,
Hanne and Jens

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