So we've been in Hue for approximately 24 hours thus far. In that time, I have indeed seen the holy body of Ho Chi Minh himself. He was encased in a tomb not unlike what I would imagine Snow White would find in her final resting place on the mountaintop. This includes engraved roses surrounding the glass case around the body. But I digress.
My friends and I (Rachel, Rachel and Neal) asked our tour guide, Ein (as in Mozart's "Eine" Kleine Nachtmusic) if there was a coffee shop nearby.
"ah yes! No problem! Its five minutes" was his quick reply.
Thinking ourselves clever for getting out of the hotel to do our essays (yes that's right... we have four due Friday) we quickly made for our rooms to gather our laptops and assignments. Along with these essentials, we took our maps. Ten minutes later we asked a friendly looking Vietnamese woman where to go. In our defense the maps are not to scale and they didn't tell me "recalculating" when we messed up. Five stops to ask for directions and twenty minutes later, we arrived at our destination. This is not the heart of the story.
It is Valentine's day. Thus, there are heart shaped and/or pink balloons everywhere. You've heard of the running of the bulls? We witnessed the running of the balloon men (yes, I just dropped an e.e. cummings reference). They were running from the police because they didn't have licenses. This is the backdrop of chaos that framed our walk home in the darkness of dirty Hanoi. Our savvy sense of direction got us back to the hotel in twenty minutes this time instead of thirty.
The Rachels and I decided to walk on and leave Neal at the hotel in order to get beer (for $0.50 per can) and some oreos so we could fend off our hunger pains from lack of dinner. And then it happened: Rachel walked into the street without looking both ways (I know, Barney must not have stuck with this one). Blindly we walked behind her, the other Rachel and I. We looked to our right and I said aloud: "WE CAN'T STOP! WE CAN'T STOP!" as a taxi drove straight at us, never intending to stop.
We made it out alive, thank the Lord. This is a cautionary tale. Don't forget what Barney taught:
"Stop, Look and Listen before you cross the street"
The balloonmen running from the cops.
Hats for sale on the sidewalk.
The name of the game is "what's on my sidewalk".
Round two. Sidewalk restaurant.
Neal waiting to cross the street. He's not as bold as I was... oh wait I almost got hit by a car...