Having stayed in Hanoi for prehaps longer than I should have done, I woke up and found that everyone I'd be talking to and going around with had left for tours to Sapa and buses down to other places in Vietnam, so wandering around, I booked a bus for the next day to Hue, a nice twelve hour sleeper bus which arrived the day after in the morning. These don't cost too much, you can browse the tour offices and get them for roughly $10 - $15 for a twelve to fifteen hour bus (depending on the driver/bus), with 'beds' on the bus. These 'beds' (as I'm sure I've mentioned in a previous post) aren't particularly comfortable, I can barely sleep on them and usually don't for most of the trip because I sleep on my right hand side, manouvering in the tight space you have isn't easy unless you're happy to sleep on your back.
The rest of my day (and the following one before my bus journey) in Hanoi was taken up with eating and walking the streets with my new found American travel partner, Danny, I'm not sure I could have taken much more of his company because everything in the world was a CIA or MI:5 conspiracy, from JFK to the 7/7 bombings, to the price of oil across the world. Plus he's a psychic and has websites he visits that tell the future. I have a hard time believing in the idea of any form of god so this tested my tongue somewhat, attempting to hold it back under his stories of training his psychic abilities under the watchful gaze of an Indian American in the wilderness. Fair enough to him, I guess, it at least sounds fun.
The next day in the evening, I got on the bus, dashed to the back and took up residence on the bottom bunks where five were lined up, meaning I could make use of more than one bed, whereas the rest of them in the aisles you could only sleep in one bed (because there's a metre-gap between them), these are all bunched together and made for a better resting spot. A German guy joined me and discussed a band we're both fans of (Oceansize), and found we may have gone to the same gig a few years ago, despite the band being tiny, a small world indeed! Arriving in Hue, the heat blistering upon us, it took quite a while to find a place to stay, and looking around as we tried to find one, it was clear there's not too much to do there aside from the Reunification Palace, a huge ground with temples and various museum-type pieces to see – half decimated from American bombing though, adding to the history of the place.
I headed for the palace later on after showering and napping, took a while to walk around and attempted a jog because exercise in Asia just isn't possible, whether it's because of the heat or because the only place to run is on busy roads with pollution filling your lungs. After seeing my fair share of temples in the palace (pictures below), I started to head back an saw something slithering across the floor quickly.. my first wild snake! Too quick, it was – it darted fast into the drain and out of sight.. leaving me a little bewildered and surprised there was no one else around to see it. After that, I bumped into a girl I met on the bus from Essex, which is always handy when you're on your own with not much else planned – we headed back to the area where the accommodation is built-up in, and found a bar recommended to me by the Danish girls in Hanoi. This concludes Hue, we stayed there from early afternoon for many hours until midnight, eating food (including banana pancakes with chocolate, which considering the frequency of that 'dish' in Vietnam, must be something of a national food!) and drinking beer. Certainly not a bad way to spend a sun-soaked day in a vaguely quiet town with friendly company. Thanks to the inspiration of Emma from Essex, we both booked a bus for the next day to the next main town on the route, Hoi An. Thankfully the journey was a five or six hour affair starting at 8am, rather than a bus twice that length that I'd get no sleep on.