Days 232,233

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Day 232… The Dong Ba market, which sells everything imaginable, is a great place to spend some time. However screw that… I am sick of markets (& especially fish markets… stinky things) so we all decided that there’s no better way to explore the peaceful countryside of Hoi An than by motorbike! We jump on the back of a fleet of motorbikes and dive head first into crazy crazy traffic where we get to see some places few tourists get the chance to see, past green rice paddies and small creeks, past oxen and water buffalo, past forrests of trees so old that if they were people they’d be cashing pensioners cheques by now. Occasionally we pass an area of minor deforestation where trees that were good trees and led a clean, decent and upstanding photosynthetic life, could be assured of a future life after death. If it was very good indeed it would eventually be reincarnated as several thousand rolls of toilet paper, possibly even a half decent run of a half decent book. This is a true insight into country living in Vietnam. After that we check out the Imperial citadel and the Hue Royal Tomb that of Emperor Tu Duc, with its central lake set amid a grove of frangipani and pine trees by riding through the biggest cemetary I’ve ever seen. Then we pull up at a cliff for a gorgeous view of the Mekong river with ding snake like through the country before we jump on the Perfume River and a full on dragon boat to see Thien Mu Pagoda, considered by many to be the unofficial symbol of Hue. It’s an active Buddhist monastery with its origins dating back to 1601. One of the most poignant displays is a car belonging to a former monk who, in 1963, drove to Saigon and set himself alight to protest against the treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime.

Day 233… A big chill out day for me in the hotel room and blog catch up, then we board yet another overnight train bound for Hanoi (approx. 12 hours) and pass rice fields, lakes.

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