Friday, February 10, 2017


(last light)

It's not too difficult to get romantic about an art deco French hotel on the south bank - the French bank - of the Perfume River. Whatever that conjures up, multiply it times over. 

We're in Hue, the once Feudal capital in central Vietnam a few miles inland from the East Sea where it straddles a wide stretch of river - Riviere des Perfums - whose upstream orchard's falling flowers give it its name. 

Romance is one thing; history is another. Strategically close to the 17th parallel and the demilitarised zone, it suffered shockingly from both sides in the American War with the Americans bombing the blazes out of its occupied historic buildings and the appalling Vietcong and North Vietnamese Hue Massacre, the impact of which would be signifiant in the North's ultimate victory. That link comes with a R rating warning.

The more I read the more I felt I was trespassing here. And yet it was the only place, so far, where I'd wanted to stay longer. Or return even.

"You just gotta keep movin' honey" advised the frizzy haired American woman from Washington DC as we simultaneously bent to feel the temperature of the pool. The sky was shading pink. Perhaps she was right. Perhaps that's the only was of dealing with it. 

The next morning's sun was hot early.  Just over and facing the river, facing east not the usual south, stands the seriously imposing Citadel with its mysterious Imperial City, its reconstruction well advanced. It's another one of Vietnam's seven UNESCO sites.

(click to enlarge*)

It is well back and separated from the river by a flag bearing massive fortress watch tower thing - impossible to compose in one shot with any sort of perspective but here I look back at it in the rising sun  ...

... before crossing the first moat, fat carp as usual waiting for crumbs.

Happy New Year greetings are still everywhere - they'll stay for the first 2 weeks of the new lunar year.

Inside is a vast complex of buildings and courtyards and moats, the King's Palace, the secret (concubine's) Purple Palace, administrative buildings and all the rest. The Throne Room, the Hall of Supreme Harmony, is breath catching and "No Picture" notices are prominent.

                                                                      (from wiki)

(western halls of mirrors becomes hall of red doors)

(boat man scooping up leaves)

In the picture gallery you could spend hours ~

~ but there's a car waiting, and as the lady said: "You gotta keep movin' ".

(* as usual, all pics benefit from clicking to enlarge and scrolling through)

No comments: