Saigon to Hue
Wednesday March 18, 2009
Today was a lazy morning as we were not being picked up from our hotel in Saigon until 11 (see the Saigon entry). We had our last wonderful breakfast on the roof overlooking the river, packed and then Phyllis and I headed out to do a bit of shopping. And what do you know – I found a dress, perhaps to wear to my daughter’s upcoming wedding! Down the block from the hotel was a shop of a young, famous Vietnamese designer, Minh Khoa. Here is what Travel and Leisure says about him: “Members of the city’s beau monde favor couturier · Minh Khoa who has made a career out of reimagining iconic garments.” His dresses were all beautiful – I could have bought any number of them. And the prices were ridiculously cheap by our standards. One in particular caught my eye. They offered to make one for me in two days. I told them we had one hour. So, they motorbiked it to the factory and fixed it to fit me. Even made me a matching shawl. So at 11 we were ready go, dress in hand.
The flight to Hue was only an hour and once again we were met by our guide, Oanh (pronounced One). Hue was the capital of Vietnam, the feudal sovereignty, from 1744 when the Nguyen lords controlled all of southern Vietnam from the city. The dynasty of the Nguyen family lasted from 1802, when Nguyen Anh defeated rebels to control the city, until 1945, when the last emperor abdicated. The city was severely damaged in the 1968 Tet offensive when house-to-house fighting lasted for weeks. Almost everything was destroyed and is now being rebuilt.