So we hightailed it out of Northern Vietnam, excited to finally make our way into sunshine – which we hadn’t seen in 8 days, mind you. Our excitement, however, was short lived for two reasons. First, there was no sunshine in Hue. The clouds, rain, and cold, literally followed us all the way down the coast. Sixteen hours worth of coastline. Really, Vietnam?!?!
Second, (though really it should be first) was the ride from Cat Ba to Hue. This was a two-part journey, the first part being a four hour bus ride to Nin Binh. Ordinarily a four hour bus ride isn’t too bad, is it? Wrong. There were feet everywhere, bare feet, pressed up against the back of chairs, on chairs, etc. Too much for us. Then there was the hair pulling. Not sure if we have mentioned it so far, but our hair has really been the subject of intrigue out here. Some people will ask if they can touch it before doing so, many others just grab, pull and tug at it. Imagine waking up to that as you’re trying to sleep your way through the most uncomfortable bus ride at 2 in the afternoon.
The worst part of this leg of the trip, however, was the attack at the rest stop. By the way – why are we even stopping 30 minutes before we reach our destination? We stopped at some random place with some random woman selling random things. Like any normal person, at first I walked around to see what she was selling. Finding nothing of interest, I planted myself by some cashews waiting for the driver to say it was time to go. Apparently the random lady had a problem with me standing by the cashews because she came over and pushed me away, pointing for me to get out of her store. Not only that, but then her goon friend – a male at that – came over and started pushing me too. Naturally, no one came to my defense. The patrons merely watched with smirks on their faces to see what would happen next. Side note: Our mere presence/ existence has been entertainment to the locals throughout this trip and this was just added entertainment. To be honest, I wanted to kick this lady in the chest and knock all of her goods onto the floor, but I wasn’t sure whether the other patrons would attack me as well in her defense. I’d have to settle for giving her the evil eye. Not otherwise ideal, but the last thing I needed was for someone to throw a bowl of pho at me.
Sometime thereafter, our driver emerged and we arrived at Nin Binh to catch our night train the rest of the way to Hue.