Hue and The Great Rat Attack

 

21/10
We left Hoi An at 9 to go to Hue via a private bus. We were all very sorry to be leaving as Hoi An is such a wonderful place!
We stopped at marble mountain about 39 minutes into the journey and hiked up to see the views. It was lovely and much less challenging than many of the hikes we did in China. The main challenge was that because the mountain is made of marble it is extremely slippery! It was also really hot, but we were at the summit before we knew it.
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 After this our next stop was the Hoi Van pass to see the old fortresses and the views of the area which was another lovely spot for photographs.
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Our final stop for the day was at the beach but the weather was so scorching hot we could hardly put our feet on the sand. Instead I had a paddle in a hotel pool (no one told me off so I just carried on!) and we took some fun photographs of the lovely scenery. The beach was so quiet and paradisic, so it was a really pleasant place to stop.
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We went for some food on arrival in Hue and I decided, particularly since our cooking class, to be a little more open minded about Vietnamese food. I went for pork skewers and it really paid off. They cost less than a pound and were totally delicious. They were freshly grilled and served with rice paper and vegetables and dipping sauce and tasted wonderfully authentic.
Matthew was feeling really tired so I went for an explore with Miriam, Josh and Flavia. We walked down to the river and decided to take a sunset boat ride. The ride was super cheap and was on a nice lady’s house boat that her whole family lived on. We had been told before that only the poorest people live on water, so I bought a range of souvenirs from her little shop aboard the boat. We enjoyed watching the sun set on her boat, and she moored up by a bank a little way from where we had boarded to disembark.
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As I had purchased souvenirs I had a little plastic bag with them inside, so I popped my phone in the bag and passed it across to Josh who had already climbed off the boat so that I didn’t drop it as I got off. It turned out that somewhere between my hands and Josh’s my phone fell out of the bag and plummeted into the water, smashing on a rock on the way down. Josh was very quick thinking and fell to his stomach to retrieve my phone. Almost simultaneously his flip flop came off and was stolen by a gigantic rat, we all tried to climb over the wall quickly and off the bank to escape the rat but a drunk old man tried to push us off! The boat lady wrestled the rat in its den for the flip flop whilst poor Flavia got inappropriately touched by the same drunk man that had pushed me off the wall. Josh wasn’t impressed at all and got angry at the drunk man, but one way or another we all walked away with nothing but a broken phone! Everyone was really upset for me about the phone, but I was okay about it, we could have had a much more serious injury during our minute or so of drama and Josh hadn’t contracted rabies from the rat, so I was just trying to think of a way to get it fixed, particularly as Matt’s had taken a swim the day before! Fortunately we all saw the funny side of our little incident and it is a great story!
We bumped into our tour leader and told him what had happened. Luckily he had another group member who had broken their phone in the same city once before so he took me straight to the repair shop. Communication was a significant challenge, but using broken English and google translate, I left my phone behind and knew to return the next morning. On arrival back at the hotel I got the reception lady to call the phone shop to try and get some clarity, which she did, and it turned out that the engineer wouldn’t start work until 8 the next morning so that was why we had to return then!
We went for a tasty farewell dinner with our group as we only had one night left and some people would have left for their flights already by the evening in Hanoi, and then went to a local club. We didn’t stay inside long as it was very hot, so sat outside and I made friends with a lovely girl who was hoping to get into university in America. We added each other on Facebook in the hope that I may be able to help her with her writing. She was so fun and open minded and lovely, and I really hope she gets her dream of going to America to study. All she wants is a better education and a better quality of life, and she absolutely deserves it. She works late nights in the club to earn money and take pay free over time so she can practice her English even more. What a super star! By the time I had got home she had made a lovely post on my wall, so I seem to have made her almost as happy as she made me whilst we were chatting.
As we crossed the road to head back for the evening we spotted an open fronted bar with loads of musicians inside singing jazz and ‘jamming’ so we watched and clapped along before being invited inside. We tried our best to make some music for them but I think we ruined the vibe a bit and it sort of turned into karaoke instead of the classy music that had been happening before we got involved, but it was great fun. We met some lovely locals and bonded by singing Beatles songs for hours. There were some very talented musicians and we had an absolute blast!
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