Hue - 2
If I had to say what the highlights of this trip are I don't think I could. There have been too many of them. This day was definitely one of them though. I took a trip to the DMZ and Vinh Moc Tunnels (again, go google or look in a travel guide if you want the history) and it was a pretty mindblowing and humbling day.
We drove though a lot of countryside and saw people working in their little fields, ploughing with buffalo and oxen and going about their business in their little villages, carrying huge quantities of goods over their shoulders or hand-pulling laden carts or cycling weighted down bikes. I think it's quite easy to forget how easy we really have it, not having to do back breaking work, not having to work outside in bad weather conditions for long hours, etc.
I've gone through quite a few soul searching moments on this trip, as I'm sure have other people who've travelled in this part of the world, but anyway...
We drove all around the DMZ through Highways 1 and 9 and saw Dong Ha Town (where the bombing started), the Ben Hai River, Hien Luong Bridge, Rockpile Mountain, Da Krang Bridge, the Ho Chi Minh trail, several villages, the Khe Sanh Combat base and the very eerie Vinh Moc Tunnels, which we spent 20 minutes down, but which people lived in. When we came out of the tunnels we came out an exit overlooking a lovely beach. There were loads of local kids at the exit trying to sell drinks.
It was all extremely informative and pretty hard to even imagine slightly what conditions and fear levels must have been like here during the American War.
In all it was a 12 hour day and the guide was very good, clear and well-informed. I learned a lot and definitely recommend the trip. The day before I'd asked some people if they were doing the DMZ tour (which, by the way, you can do from either Hue or Hoi An) and one said, no, they were avoiding all the war stuff. Too bad.
For a second night I decided I couldn't be arsed to go out and explore Hue by rainy night. I did see some from back of bikes though and took my first cyclo going back to the hotel when I got dropped off from the tour. The cyclo was fun too but, in Hue, I enjoyed the motobikes more.
(In the hotel restaurant they played Eternal Flame. In Vietnamese.)