I’m with two of my remaining colleagues now in Hue, which is about halfway down the coast of Vietnam. There were many tearful, sometimes tedious goodbyes last Saturday, and I’m still feeling a little bit fatigued from it all. We underwent a pretty significant transformation when we left Haiphong and Hanoi as businesspeople / volunteers and then showed up in Hue as tourists. Now everybody is selling something, including an hour with a “beautiful” woman for U$10. Apparently we look like the types that can't get beautiful women unless we pay for them. So, thank you, Pimp on Cyclo.
Hue was at one time the capital of Vietnam. There are a lot of very old castles, pagodas, and other miscellaneous buildings. The other day we were at a pagoda which I think was the one Thich Nhat Hanh originally studied at. When we were buying things in the gift shop there, one of the monks asked us where we’d been working in Vietnam, and we said Haiphong. His eyes lit up and he said “Oh – Do Sun Beach!”, which is hilarious, because everyone knows that Do Sun Beach is where both locals and tourists go for things like an hour with a “beautiful” woman, although hopefully it’s a little more than U$10.
The photo below is from a pagoda along the Hue city tour route. I tried to have us arranged in geographic order. That is, we are standing in the positions of our respective countries (US, Italy, Germany) from east to west (west to east from our point of view). I don’t know if we got it right.