Monday, October 4, 2010


(PICTURE: Candles containing wishes float down the river in Hue.)

Considering this week is the 1,000th anniversary of Hanoi, what I'm about to say is totally blasphemous: I wish I could spend my last months/year/however-long-the-USA-makes-me-stay in Hue.

This was my third trip to Hue and I think the first time I truly appreciated the city. Here's a list of advantages Hue has over Hanoi:

Advantage 1: Fresh Air.

Advantage 2: Stars at night.

Advantage 3: Very few cars. The small roads aren't nearly as scary when there's not an SUV speeding towards you at a ridiculous KPH.

Advantage 4: Different food. I love Hanoi food but recently my favorite places have started to seem less interesting to me.

Advantage 5: No construction. Okay, yeah, there's construction but in Hue the tallest a house can be (in the old city at least) is 2 stories. Right now in Hanoi they are erecting skyscrapers like it's going out of style.

Advantage 6: Hue is uber-cheap. Believe it or not, I'm complaining about Hanoi prices. However, everything was 50% or less in Hue. A cup of coffee recently has been 20,000 VND at all the cafes near my house. In Hue the most I paid for coffee was 6,000 VND!

Advantage 7: The beach! There is a beach under ten miles away from the center of Hue. Besides that one, there are some great beaches within an hours drive.

The fact is, I'm getting a little fed-up with Hanoi. For my first two years here, I used to drive around every day and think, "I love this place!" Recently though, those moments have been farther and farther apart. That said, I'm going to give myself a big pep talk to really soak up all the time I've got left in Hanoi. I know that as soon as I get stateside I'm gonna be saying, "I wish ___ could be a little more like Hanoi."

NOTE: Friends and family who have asked me about visiting Hue -- I still think you only need a day or two maximum to see everything in the city. This post is more about living there than visiting it as a tourist.