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Tales From Vietnam: All those historical things (HUE)

Generalswishreboot@solomongiles.com2 Comments

Ok so we left off with Kate and I hopping on a 15 hour bus from Hanoi heading south to Hue which was imperial capital of the Nguyễn Dynasty. Unfortunately the bus was one of those "Victoria is too big for Asia" situations, but Kate had me laughing and we managed to stay in high spirits throughout the trip.

Hue is a UNESCO world heritage site due to it's historical monuments. Unfortunately it is right near the border of North and South Vietnam and most historical sites have been heavily damaged by fire from American troops during the Vietnam War. After the fighting ceased, they were neglected as they were seen as a relic of the old feudal regime; however, today there is a push to restore the old monuments and much success has been had already with the citadel.  I was very lucky as I had my own personal tour guide in Kate who had majored in Political Science and East Asian Studies. After we checked into our hostel we headed out to see the sites!

We first went took a boat to the old family gardens which were lovely and showed off a lot of the local fruit plants!

Then we headed to Thien Mu Pagoda, which is regarded as a symbol of the ancient city.  The temple was started in 1601 and is still a practicing Buddhist temple. In 1963 the pagoda was a site for anti-government protests due to the Presidents discrimination of Buddhism and the temple now houses the car in which Thich Quang Duc drove to Saigon to burn himself in protest.

After all the site seeing we decided to take a little bike ride back to the hostel on the other side of the perfume river and thus we formed: Bike gang 3.0 (yes the short shorts were still there for those of you who have seen our other bike gangs).

The next morning we went to the citadel, which was the imperial city and home to the emperor and only his family, concubines, and associates were allowed in.  Punishment for trespassing on these grounds was death.  It was truly amazing to walk in through the gates and we were transported back in time. Assisted by my hangover, I started playing make believe with my highly active imagination. Kate was laughing but others were not so amused as I was really getting involved.

Afterwards we went on a street food extravaganza including, but not limited to, Bun Bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup), Bun Bo Gio Heo (cold rice noodles with herbs sauce and pork), and of course. . . the perfect pancake!

The next day, Kate went to the tombs and I went for a run around the city, and then to work!

Tune in for more tales of Vietnam when we go to beach it up!

Tales from Vietnam: Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Hue

Generalswishreboot@solomongiles.com2 Comments

So as I am sure that you have all already realized, I have left my amazing home in Mexico and am doing the Asia thing for a while which is great! I currently took a trip around Vietnam with my best friend Kate (who you all know from her appearance on this blog: http://blog.swishsuits.com/open-water-diver-learning/). Kate was working in China and I had just moved back to Thailand and since we had never been to Vietnam we decided to meet up and backpack around.


Let me preface this post with saying that I have never been backpacking before, I have traveled extensively, just never in a backpacking scenario. To help me cope Kate and I came up with a few rules:

rule 1) NO KAROKE (this is an absolute)

rule 2) If I ask you where you are from and you respond "I am a citizen of the world" I get to slap you. . . open hand style. . .

rule 3) If you tell me you practice the religion of Confucianism. . . I also get to slap you.

I met Kate in Hanoi, where we spent two days getting set up and doing a bit of planning for our trip. I loved Vietnam right of the bat. I found that the vibe was more mellow than I expected and very genuine.

From Hanoi we headed to Ha Long Bay which is a series of limestone monolithic islands. We took a boat from the harbor and spent our first day cruising around and taking in the stunning scenery.

We also visited the largest grotto in the area which is Thien Cung grotto. I think that you all know how I feel about caves by now, so I was pumped to go see it! The cave is dry now and no longer dripping water but the decoration was truly spectacular if not slightly marred by the hokey colored lights. I kept on asking if the cave would ever be underwater again and if so when? Which I think confused our guide slightly.

We spent a fun night on the boat diving off the top and going intense squidding (I turned out the be an excellent squidder and provided for the boat).  We also spent a night on Cats Ba Island, where we went on a little excursion. Kate and I also bonded strongly over a rat murder. . .

Scene: Intense movement and noise where what looks like a small cat runs by us chased by a dog. Kate, Victoria, and others are sitting in the street watching with curiosity. Group identifies small cat as rat. Dog battles and eventually flings big rat 10 feet into the air where it lands dead in the gutter. Buff Danish boys squeal and jump on tiny plastic chairs which then collapse. Tiny lady walks by, kicks rat, and makes sleeping gesture with hands. . . Kate and Victoria fall over laughing. . . . Yeah it was intense. . .

After Ha Long Bay we went back to Hanoi to take our first 15 hour night bus to Hue. . . which is where this story ends, but do not worry dear Swish reader, there is more to come. . .

Remember, I am a little bit in love with all of you. . . Until next time!

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Greetings from Halong Bay Vietnam!

Eco Tips and Environmentswishreboot@solomongiles.com1 Comment

Hello all! Sorry if the posts have been a bit sporadic lately! I am on a mini adventure vacation with my friend Kate at the moment who you will know from her open water video with Swish! [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s0Wg9kKiwc&feature=channel_video_title[/youtube]

We are traveling in Vietnam at the moment and are sending you some greetings from Halong Bay.

Vietnam Vacation: Greetings from Halong Bay

Creative Commons License photo credit: Los viajes del Cangrejo

We have recently bonded over a rat murder and are now headed onto a 15 hour death bus to Hue! Check in here for recent updates and photos of our adventures in Vietnam. As always you can reach me at victoria@swishsuits.com with any questions or comments. Or send me your travel stories and pics and you can be a part of our blog as well!


Cheers my lovely readers! I have a bus to catch! ;)