Rats in the bedroom

Hue culture day

Ever looked at a lego set and wondered how on earth all those tiny, intricate pieces make up the picture on the box? Ok well it’s not so bad because they give you brick by brick instructions but now imagine doing that, without instructions, in a side alley with a little vietnamese chap.

For those who don’t know, the inside of a motorbike engine is very complicated citation needed. There are hundreds of pieces and it’s not like lego where anything can fit together with anything else. They all have their very specific places and very specific jobs. The mechanic had the bike in pieces in seconds. He took the head off the engine, opened the crankcase, dismantled the clutch, shifter, piston and crank. The guy had so many little pots of parts strewn around him all over the floor of the alley, I am shocked to have the bike back together.

The offending parts were chewed up shifter dogs and a bent shifter shaft. He had to go and get parts so we left on Mike’s bike. We must have looked like dumb and dumber on that tiny little bike. I’ve not tested to see if I have second gear back yet but he brought it back to the hostel for me so it clearly works. All that work, and the bill: 1,080,000 Dong (hehe dong) about £31. Its just incredible, the same work would have been literally 10 or 20 times the price in the UK.

While the mechanic was getting his fix on, we went to the Unesco World Heritage Imperial Palace Citadel. This was the most incredible palace in its time and covers… many square km. All the different buildings had a specific purpose: accommodation, ministerial offices, meditation rooms, shrines and temples, gardens.. The list goes on. All extravagantly decorated and detailed in coloured tiles and painted render.

There is a lot of restoration going on around the site. Those buildings which have been restored are in stark contrast to the bombed out and peppered with bullet holes originals. Because the render and paint is so fresh and in primary colours, it looks like massive lego sculptures atop the buildings. I’ve got some amazing photos but I much prefer the buildings that have become history. You can literally trace the bullet holes in a line across the walls which is incredible and soberingly sad. Most of the palace was destroyed in the American war. I hope they don’t restore the whole palace, as horrible as it is, it would be a shame to loose all that history that you can feel and experience.

We spent 3 hours wandering around the citadel, in flip flops, in the rain. It was amazing but we were so tired and hungry by the end. We went straight to the pub for food. I know I’m travelling vietnam so should be eating vietnamese food but we had it for lunch and most days leading up to today. All I wanted was a beasty meaty burger and I was not disappointed.

Then started the beer pong. My summers in France would not be in vain. I was determined to win and teamed up with Mike to take on the bar. We were doing quite well till our 5th game when we were up against some young English lads. They started the match in style and sunk two of our cups on the first throw. They beat us quickly so we got some hand grenades and shot them.