A Travellerspoint blog

Hue - & to the South

rain 20 °C

Even though the chest cold is sooo annoying we long suffering travellers set off agin around 7.30. Another yummy breakfast was of course had before departure. Rather chilly and overcast. The day was quickly brightened meeting a friend of a number of years and hearing all her news about engagement, wedding etc etc. She was sure excited about it all. She was accompanied by he new friend.

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We had a similar distance to cover as the previous day, about two hours & three communities, but different vistas. Most of these communities go under as the wet progresses and the tide heights increase.

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All the communities were very isolated and poor. Not the healthiest places to live during the wet.

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One community was a nightmare to slog into and out of. Of course the welcome is gracious and with much smiling, singing and hand clasping.

Our heading to

Our heading to

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We followed this with another 'horrible' lunch. There were 11 of us this day. Fed us all at a street family run place for A$50 including 6 half liter beers. Fantastic.

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after lunch we went to a small community near a Catholic male religious orders grounds. The gathering with the community went very well and all departed with great smiles. What was upsetting was that this large property is under attack from the local police and local Govt' officials. Apparently
they forcibly took over a large section of the property a few years ago and are now back for the rest. A good part of 100 hectares if you don't mind. Taking over means 'stealing' the land and selling it for personal gain, even though you have the paper-work to prove you are the owner. Many religious and other groups suffer in this way from the Communist government's attitude of we'll do what we want, I'm the boss. Some members of this order were camped on the edge of the property to chase off officials. In Saigon I know 2 families in similar situations on much smaller properties who pay officials yearly. Maybe we just call them rates !!!
Was such a sad story to hear. Again nothing about what these religious were doing to assist the very poor local community.

Posted by loup54 04:43 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Hue - & to the North

overcast 20 °C

Early, like 5.30 am, start. Having a chest cold, the body was not saying thank you at all. Anyway began the day with this

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OpLa i.e fried eggs, french style bread and extras & coffee. Yum yum !!!!

met up again with a couple of older acquaintances . One has extraordinary stories of surviving the communist takeover of Hue and narrowly avoiding being massacred with 5000 others. No one seems to be sure how many young boarders he did save. Amazing stuff.

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we headed north for the day. First stop was 1 hr and the furtherest 2hrs
First stop was LaVan, the Vietnamese National Marian shrine.

La Vang

La Vang


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The place is huge. Several events during the year have 10's of thousands camping onsite for the weekend. In 2014 there were 300000 for some event. Apparently there are a couple of yearly 100000 events. Mostly camping. This time of the year is not good. A bit wet.

Today is the World day of Peace. Joined in the Chruch service with about 3000 others. At La Van there is a huge wall that remembers this and the thousands of Vietnamese martyrs. Very simple yet impressive, even though I've now seen it 6 or so times.

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The original church has little remaining after being bombed by the Americans

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but this is the dream replacement

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and this is how far they've got. Must be worth a fortune.

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From La Van we continued North and visited three communities. All very poor and often under water as the wet season progresses, but not yet. In previous years we have visited between tides or boated in. Lovely sites as one drives along.

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Once again we meet the communities on the grounds of a Church. Today we had no harassment or sign of political police, although our vehicle did get pulled over by the traffic police.The site of a foreigner possibly stopped any corrupt practices this time. They are dispised locally because of their corrupt traffic management methods, especially with truckies.
Had a dancing group at one community - a female / male mixture, which is unusual. Is mostly the girls who are into the dancing.

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Anyway, couple of interesting Churches like this one

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and interesting people who are just so full of energy working with these communities. The respect was palpable. Just like this guy.

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This guy was all the more interesting, because he lives with an Italian who built the Church that includes the equivalent of a 3 bedroom modern unit in Sydney with views like this, built into the roof of the church.

views

views

The church also has it's own crypt where the door is a 2m by 10cm stone wheel that rolls away to let you in. If you've been to any ancient type crypt in Italy, then this is what this guy has but. Over the top and all very Italian.
Then, to cater for some other group he is currently building a house. Not any house, though. One with a moat. Check the happy snap out.

celebrating the end of the day

celebrating the end of the day

The communities were very thankful for the New Years presents.

We concluded the day with a little meal that included a little red wine served in a very small and dainty tea cup. !!!! Oh the things to remember meals by.

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Posted by loup54 06:12 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

KonTum to DaNag to Hue - 28/29/30

overcast 18 °C

Played tourist in the moaning in KonTum. Nothing in particular. Wandering, looking at nothing in particular. Grabbed a taxi to the airport which is a bit of a hassle. The airport is actually at Pleiku, so an hours drive back the way we'd come to catch a plane. Nice new terminal gone up since my last visit 2 years ago. But. Needed a little cash and guess what. Not one ATM in the place. Is a 3km hike back to the other side of the army base. Was quickly on the bludge.

Eventually arrived DaNang for a one night stay. A couple of interesting highlights.
An excellent meal cooked by a street side family. The waitress !!! was just so enthusiastic and proud of what she was doing. A real joy. Can only share the results....sorry.

Was delicious. You'll have to believe me.

Was delicious. You'll have to believe me.

Walking home came across this sign which basically translates to path for walkers. Not sure how the trees fit into the planning. Discovered the white line is everywhere.

Walking path

Walking path

Excellent planning

Excellent planning

reminds me of DaLat where there is a path with the raised knobs for the blind. Just below the main church there. Unfortunately the path has a number of power poles on it in various places.

All good talking points.
Have picked up a chest cough - the stress of travelling I think !!!
Caught the bus at 9 for the 3 hour trip to Hue. Staying in the same place I've been to for the last 10 years. Spent the rest of the day in bed sleeping and eating little. Hope it goes soon.
Tourist day tomorrow. Time to catch-up with past friends.

Posted by loup54 04:21 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

KonTum day 2

sunny 26 °C

Up early to wish fond farewells to 2 friends who had to return to Saigon for work. Not happy either
Went and had leisurely breakfast and coffee, collected another friend b4 heading off around ten
Went to a large leper community. This was run by the Catholics until the Communists stole it in 1975. A minority Sister managed somehow to hold onto a small house within the large complex. She has been there ever since working with the community. She has a couple of other Sisters who live with her. An amazing special woman.
A long-time friend

A long-time friend

She was rather upset because they had had no Church on the 24th because the communists had not given the priest permission. Another example of their childish need to say we are the boss and can control whatever. The place is becoming more and more run-down each year I visit, but there is little the people can do. The communists have little sense of helping or caring unless it involves monetary advantage or more power. All very sad again.

the Boss

the Boss

a local

a local

helping out the less mobile

helping out the less mobile

getting ready

getting ready

Enjoyed a leisurely lunch and walk before the compulsory siesta in preparation for the evening. A tough life....not.

Off to DaNang tomorrow

Posted by loup54 07:15 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

KonTum

sunny 25 °C

Up early - 6 ish for a feed and breakfast then and hour & a bit travel by vehicle to the NW.
Met about 60 villagers who have traveled for hours from remote areas. No roads, just walking / bike tracks. Met on a block belonging to some Church. Apparently helps keep the political police away. Many were there waiting when we arrived and many kept turning up. The gifts of food were for their Christmas celebrations. Most survive on far less than a dollar a day, so any extra food is always good. After much conversation and speeches all left well pleased.

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we then headed for another village I have visited a number of times before. Same story. A gathering point for all to travel to. People were very happy to receive the gifts. They were about to celebrate their Christmas later in the day, using the gathering as another reason to celebrate.

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Remote minority village

Remote minority village

From here we traveled to Dak To for a great lunch. What a feast at a local dropin place. Great to back in the eating atmosphere of if you don't or can't eat it, throw in on the floor. A real highlight!!

Lunch yum yum

Lunch yum yum

Lunch yum yum

Lunch yum yum

from here we did a little touristing up to the Lao border. Just for the heck of it. There is a minor gate one needs to cross before getting close to the actual border processing place. We asked if it was ok to pass & told to go for it. On the way back we had an almighty robust discussion with the border guards about our illegal crossing. Their game of of extra income lost. Two male guards against three vocal Vietnamese woman was always going to be a lost cause for them. Good entertainment from the sidelines though.

Border Vietnam / Lao

Border Vietnam / Lao

Vietnam / Lao border. Duty free !!!!

Vietnam / Lao border. Duty free !!!!

ended the day with a delicious coffee and ice cream in a hotel only just discovered.

A goodby coffee and ice cream

A goodby coffee and ice cream

End of the refreshment

End of the refreshment

Posted by loup54 20:06 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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