Well its been a while! Hue was a cool little town and we were lucky to stumble into an Australian style backpackers hostel that was good fun. The hostel scene hasn't really seemed to catch on quite yet in Vietnam. Most of the places are guesthouses, which is ok, but the hostel atmosphere is a way better place to meet people. In Hue we did a DMZ tour that was pretty good. We took a bus with a tour guide who barely spoke any English, but that didn't bug me because I was captivated by the lush scenery. There were mountains with green canopys, water buffalos crossing rushing rivers and a few fishermen paddling their long boats. We came to a bridge that I recognized from the movie Hamburger Hill, then I was reminded about what had happened here and how horrible it must have been for the soldiers who fought and died. We went up to a couple military museums with hollowed out missiles, huey hellicopters and rusted out tanks. Next we headed to a beach that had tunnels dug all throughout the shoreline. We got to crawl through them and check out how the Vietnamese people were surviving thoughout the war, wow was it cramped!
After Hue we caught a bus up to Hanoi, the first night was awful because we went along with one of the guesthouse owners that yanked us from the bus. He offered a free taxi ride which sold us. However, when we got to the room the walls were spotted with mold. We stayed for one night and moved down to the Hanoi Backpackers hostel. Wow am I having fun here, this place is the best hostel I have been to throughout all my travels. Meeting so many people, free breakfast and rooftop BBQs really sold me.
We booked a tour through the hostel to go out to the "Snake Villiage." It was a plan I had before I came to Vietnam to eat a snake's heart and when I realized it was possible to do we signed up right away. In a group of about 18 from the hostel we went out to the snake villiage ready to eat snake heart! As they brought the snakes out they also showed us a live cobra which was crazy! I am not much of a snake lover and when the owner laid the live cobra a few feet away from my sandal strapped feet I had to back up a bit! Eventually they brought out the snakes we were destined to eat and I was lucky enough to be able to cut it open myself, eat its still beating heart, then swallow the gull bladder and drink its blood.. Yuck! After the whole ordeal they cooked up the snake in different dishes. Fried crushed bones, skin, deep fried snake meat... it was very good.
So for the past couple days the Vietnamese New Year has been going on and yesterday the fireworks went off to mark the new lunar year. It was crazy being in a foreign city watching massive explosions of fireworks mark the sky.
On the 16th we are heading to Laos a 24-36 hour bus ride from hell!