23 June 2011


Anna walked around old town. met Tjien. fortune-telling in hand. market.  Thien


Not much looking forward to a day by myself again, but can’t spend the whole day in the hotel either.. Decided to have a look around old town.

Cyclo (nice and quiet with the riders on a break)

The cyclos were a bit surprised that I wanted to walk across the bridge, but after telling about 8 of them no, they finally got it. The perfume river might sound like a nice small gentle stream but is in fact quite a big brown river.

Cyclo tyres

Gate to Old Town

On the other side things got better. (after again telling the cyclos that I was not interested) Behind the first row of ugly new riverside buildings, you cross a moat and gate to get into old town. On one side you have the main tourist attraction : the Citadel. I wanted to safe this for when Andrew was feeling better, so headed the other way. Now there were cyclo drivers hassling me… I was getting quite annoyed. Is it really that difficult to understand that I am not interested, I want to walk, and No, I dont know where I’m going.. One cyclo driver was actually following me. By then I had had enough, and started giving back strange answers to confuse him. : “I am trying to get lost”, “It will be fun to wander around without directions and get sunburnt”. unfortunately this guy would not give up, so I stopped to talk to him. As it turns out, he is a really nice guy and fun to talk to. His name was Thien, and he had studied a few years as a zen buddhist monk. He wanted to tell me my future by studying the line sin my hand. I had no idea that monks did this. I was curious, so gave in, but sensing the bill at the end already. Apparently I don’t have enough “poison” in my life and need to get more ?? He asked for pen and paper, so he could write it all down for me and give me a nice souvenir. Ok then, the bill just went up. Apparently his written english is a bit better and it turns out that I don’t have enough patience. (make more sense) I need to meditate and learn etc. After chatting a bit more and finding out more about him, I was starting to feel really bad about trying to brush him off earlier. He would be a really nice guide to do a bit of Hue’s country side with. I took his business card and was planning on calling him if Andrew was up for it the next day. Time to get going though. I said goodbye, and he did not even ask for money for his fortune-telling.. I was stunned.. Nice to know that there are still people working in the tourist bussiness that are not just all about money!


The old town is very different from new town on the other side. There are hardly any hotels or guesthouses. Small quite winding alleys, with no tourists at all. The house Ho Chi Min lived in when he was in Hue is supposed to be in this area, but I couldn’t find it. After a wander I had a drink at a road stall, run by a very nice girl who didn’t speak a word of English. With a bit of sign language we figured out which way it was to the markets.


Quite a walk, as I seemed to have completely wandered of the map. The markets were nice, but not different from any other markets. Clothing, shoes, toys, spices, veggies and some scary looking dried fish bits.
Back to check on Andrew, who was not doing any better yet..


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