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Northern Vietnam

I had a brother at Khe Sahn fighting off the Viet Cong They're still there, he's all gone -Bruce Springsteen, 1984


View Southeast Asia on jmalsch's travel map.

I feel like i've been traveling FORVER!!! From Hoi An, I took an afternoon bus (nice change!) to Hue, the old intellectual capital of Vietnam. It's a cute city that runs along the perfume river. (note: river does NOT actualy smell like perfume- actually, quite far from it!) The weather hasn't been so great since we've headed north- it's rained almost every day. It's weird to think that Cambodia and Vietnam have such different weather (completely different monsoon seasons.)
The first day I was in Hue, I wasn't actually in Hue! I went up to see the DMZ (de-militarized zone, khe sahn, and a couple other war sites.) It was pretty eerie to wander around sites that had been such household names during the war (even though I wasn't around then!) I was also the only American (that I knew of) that went along w/ any of the tours, which felt a bit weird. I tried to imagine what it would be like to come back to those places as a veteran. Listening to 60's & 70's anti-war music as we drove around to all of these sites gave me an uncanny sense of nostalgia for something that I wasn't even alive for...
After a day exploring Hui itself, I was back on another night train to Hanoi! This train was a LOT more crowded than the last one and a bit more...well...disgusting. I'm not quite sure why people insist on spitting on the floor or can't ever pee without hitting the seat!
Anyway, I liked Hanoi a lot. I stayed in old town which has all these really neat winding streets (w/ more travel companies than you could ever imagine!) After spending a day cruising around Hanoi, I went to Halong Bay and stayed overnight on a boat. It was cool, except the weather wasn't ideal -it rained a lot and since it was misty, you couldn't see the karsts that well. It was still beautiful though...
Well, then it was back to Hanoi before heading off to Laos for 6 days! I'm pretty tired of doing the tourist "thing" so i'm looking forward to carving my own path in Laos!

Posted by jmalsch 12/09/2006 03:48 Archived in Vietnam

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