InsideVietnam, like InsideJapan, aims to help travellers see some of the fantastic places and sample the culture of these fantastic destinations. We aim to give people value and help them do things that they wouldn’t necessarily do without that little nudge and knowledge. Both these places have some great sights and some beautiful countryside, but some of the best things that happen, happen by being in the right place at the right time, interaction with random people and unusual cultural experiences that you may not necessarily plan, but they happen and make the whole adventure even more memorable.
Myself and tour leader Tyler, travelled to the city of Hue in central Vietnam. We explored this old Imperial capital initially taking a boat across the river from where we were staying to bustling Dong Ba Market. The market was packed with fresh produce from the day and we could have bought anything – Let them know what you want and within a minute someone will be standing there waving the goods in your face.
Heading into the citadel walls, we wondered the streets. Tyler showed me a few of his favourite restaurants and bars en-route and they seemed to know him pretty well – Lac Thien invited us in for a drink and there signature bottle top opening style.
Inside the city walls we stumbled across this barbers. They said, “hello” and made gestures along the lines of a haircut or shave and I surprised them by agreeing to go in for a shave. The young guys took a blade to my face and did a great job. There was absolutely no English spoken and luckily, it all turned out well….for me.
In the meantime, Tyler had been talked in to having some sort of facemask. He is still not sure what it actually did, but it was something like a light facial and hair removal. He looked a bit like Hannibal Lecter but as a result, he now has a very smooth face. The young barbers found it all very amusing, as did I…not sure about Tyler though.
All in all, the little unplanned outing cost just about $1.50, we had a funny chat with the barbers (who later gave us a beep and a wave as they drove by on their scooter) and we both felt good…well I did – Not sure about Tyler and the mask. These are the little things that help us get a little bit further beneath the surface.