We spent just over 24 hours in Hue, making it one of the most ram packed days of the trip. We got off our 13(!) hour sleeper train not so very refreshed, and went straight for breakfast before hopping onto the back of a pack of Xe Om (the Vietnamese name for motorbike taxis) and speeding off on our adventures around Hue.
It is worth pointing out before I go further the adventures I had actually getting on the Xe Om in the first place. I have managed to acquire one of my many inconvenient injuries, sustained in un-dramatic ways, this time a freak swimming accident resulted in a bruise approximately the size and a shape if the short end of a brick on the inside of my thigh. Which wouldn't really be an issue if it hadn't been for the fact that I had to get on a motorbike. However, I was a woman with a plan; I had seen Violet ride Xe Om side saddle in Hanoi, and figured this would be the perfect way to get around the bruise issue. All I needed to do was convince my driver of the genius of my idea He didn't seem convinced at first but I figured it was because he hadn't understood the term bruise, so I showed him. This seemed to do the trick, although it may have been because he was so shocked at seeing a woman's inner thigh that he didn't really know what to do. And so we set on our merry way.
While gladding about on our motorbikes I made the world's fattest stick of incense, visited an orphanage, watched a conical hat being made and other such typical touristy type activities, however the best by far was the agricultural museum where I made friends with the oldest lady I have ever met. She was tiny, dressed entirely in purple and had about two teeth, she was also brilliant. Her job seemed to be to demonstrate all the farming equipment in the museum, which she did with much gusto and sound effects. She took a shining to me when she was showing is how to plough a field for rice, while demonstrating the buffalo whip she decided that the whole thing would be more realistic if she whipped something that more closely resembled a buffalo. Apparently I was that something.
After this I was included in all her demonstrations, including how to water a rice field, how to catch a fish in a rice field, and finally how to chew erica beans (in case you're wondering the correct answer to this last one is don't if you can possibly avoid it.) then she figured out we had matching green Vietnamese bangles, mine being a gift from Violet on my first day, and this cemented our friendship for ever in her mind. She even had me sit next to her on her tiny tiny wicker sofa, which by rights shouldn't have been large enough to hold a baby.
In the evening we took part in the most ridiculously touristy activity in which I have ever indulged. We dressed up as members of the royal court in Hue from around the turn of the century, and ate a special royal banquet while being serenaded by special royal music. In case you were wondering about the ridiculousness of this; there were hats, one of them had a pom pom on.
We finished the most absurd day in the history of absurd days in a club called Brown Eyes, which promised on the fliers to be "strongly in bed". In fact, I spent the evening listening to classic pop, watching the rugby, drinking something called a "leg opener" while being force fed various free shots which were a dubious green colour, surrounded by Dutch bunting.
It is days like this, among other things which make me really love my life. Until next time loyal blog readers!