Around Hue

26th Apr 2004.

There are several stunning royal tombs and pagodas along the perfume river south of Hue. We decided to take a boat trip up the river to see them.

These three little girls dressed up in their Sunday-best to rock up to our boat begging for money. Apparently it works with some people.

The boats pass us by, carrying cement and rocks to local places.  There was even a floating stone crusher in the middle of the river.

This is the Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc.  This monarch had a life of luxury with 104 wives and countless concubines (good work fella). Despite all these women he didn't manage to have any children (hmmmm maybe his tackle was broken). The tomb took 3 years to make and he skived-off here on a regular basis before and after his death.

The tomb of Khai Dinh is the best of the tombs because it is big and leery. Khai was the top dog (apart from the thousands of French that told him how to think) from 1916 to 1925. His tomb kicks ass because it takes all the opulence of and Imperialism of a Monarchy and combines it with modern materials and technology and a few French poking the locals with sticks to get things built.

The Mandarins in the photo are very stereotypical. The big brutes in the front are the fighters (5 foot 2 inches) and the little weeds at the back (less than 5 foot) are the bureaucrats... nice touch.

.... It's apparent that the French must have popped over to Brighton a few times to steal the plans for the West Peir (and maybe do a bit of clubbing) to save a bit of dosh on architecture fees for the monolith.

The detail in the steps was amazing, worth standing around in the baking hot sunshine and mental wrestling with locals who wanted to charge two stupid looking gringos more than a mini-cab at closing time to take us 2 kms up the road.

Ming Mahns tomb was pretty cool but in a more traditional Chinese kind of way. He was obviously a bit of tree-hugger as well as he was eventually buried under a pile of pine trees out the back.

Jason is at this point preferring to sleep than be stalked by the wife of the boatman who kept begging us to buy her souvenirs.

This is Thien Mu pagoda, it sits just outside Hue. Monks live here, amongst a beautiful garden of flowers and Jackfruit. The pagoda has been a hotbed for anti government protest since back in the 60's but it seems calm and peaceful now.

This Austin car sits behind the pagoda. In 1963 it transported Thich Quang Duc (a serious monk) to Saigon where he had his fellow monks douse him in petrol before he publically burned himself to death. He was protesting to the policies of the President at the time.  If you look closely in the photo, there is a newspaper picture that shows him on fire.

The wife of the prime minister of South Vietnam had this to say at the time "... Barbecue party .... We shall clap our hands and watch them burn..." Even Hitler never had to put up with this sort of PR wizardry!

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