Friday, 19 November 2010

Hue to Hoi An

Our guide warned us yesterday that if the rain continued, we could end up getting stuck in Hue for a few days. Luckily it backed off a little overnight so we were able to continue on our planned route to Hoi An, a small fishing village just South of Danang.

We just about make it out of Hue, the first three exit roads leading out of town are flooded but we make it out on the 4th attempt.

Our route takes us South to the infamous "Hai Van" pass, a steep winding road which crosses the tall hills North of Danang. Its a stunning but dangerous drive, even more so when you're being shot at as you ascend it, fortunately 45 years on we aren't. At the summit 1960's U.S military bunkers still line each side of the road. A 1950's era French bunker stands derelict just behind them. Its a history lesson in less than 100ft of tarmac.

We're up in the clouds up here, quite dramatic weather. Two bus loads of tourists arrive, and ask the now extremely familiar question...."Have you guys really driven here all the way from the U.K?" Yep, apparantly so.

Its down the other side of the pass, through Danang, past China Beach and into Hoi An. This place used to be great, on my first visit in 1998 it really was quite a special spot - A very quiet, peaceful place. An ancient fishing port giving a glimpse of times gone by.

Unfortunately progress, as they say, is always a crude intrusion. And no more so than here. The number of tourists visiting has increased so dramatically over the last ten years, that they've had to relocate the original village inhabitants to a new purpose built town outside of town.... Bus loads of tourists cram the tiny streets, its lost its charm.
We check into our hotel, an awesome riverside bungalow with steps straight down to the river bank. However, the river has long since burst its banks, our steps now lead down to a garden flooded with murky brown river water. And its still raining.....
Later that night, 7 steps become 6 then 5, at 3am its 2 steps....
Its not venice, its...flooded!

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