Tuesday, March 10, 2009


It seems we're settling into a bit of a routine here after only a couple of days. In case anyone is wondering what it's like to live in a hotel room for a month, I don't think it will be too bad, at least not here. For one thing, the sons have their own room, just across the hall area outside the elevator. For another thing, it's not the hotel we stayed in for one night in Ho Chi Minh City. To make my point, here are two shots of that room taken from corners diagonally apart. I took the first one from the corner into which the door to the room opened. The second photo I took from the corner shown in the first shot, up by the head of the bed. In the second shot, the door shown at the left is the door into the room. The middle door is the closet, and the door on the right is to the bathroom. As you can see, it was a pretty darn small room. And if you're thinking that you don't see any windows, you're correct. There weren't any. I told the husband as we were packing to leave for Hue, that our hotel room here had better (1) be bigger and (2) have a window. It won on both counts, as you'll see in a minute. I will say that having a totally interior room made for a quiet room which, given the traffic and honking in Ho CHi Minh City, is no small matter. I can, however, say that the room had a cute trash can.

So, our room here in Hue is larger. Here's a photo I took from the entry hallway, where the door to the bathroom is. That's the husband there, surveying the chaos. When I took this photo, we were still getting organized. Now that we have some clothes put into the small wardrobe, and the suitcases positioned nicely on the twin bed, it's looking pretty homey. The curtains cover picture windows or, more specifically, a sliding glass door out to a small balcony, the railing of which would never be allowed in the US given liability lawsuits.

As I said at the outset, we're settling into a bit of a routine. We get up at 6:00 and shower, and then knock on the sons' door when we're ready to head down for breakfast. They join us, which is nice. It's the first time in almost a decade that we've had five family breakfasts in a row. After breakfast, the husband leaves for the university, and the sons retreat to their room, sometimes to go back to sleep. I come to our room and organize photos from the day before or, as I am doing now, work on a blog post. In a while, the maids will have worked their way up to this floor (the fourth), and the sons and I will take the Scrabble board and tiles down to a breakfast table in the lobby for a game. It's becoming something of a spectator sport, with a different staff member watching us each day. I had planned to take the board and tiles (purchased at a thrift store) home to use in creative endeavors, but I may end up leaving them here if the staff is interested in having them.

After Scrabble and room-cleaning, we've been heading out to walk. We usually don't have a plan of where we'll go; we just make it up as we go along. Judging by my digital pedometer, we walk somewhere between five and ten miles. Lots of photography happens, as you can see here. That's younger son with the ponytail. He's carrying three cameras: the Canon digital SLR we gave him for high school graduation, my old Canon EOS film camera, and his dad's old Nikon film camera. He's shooting color film in one and black and white film in the other. I'm carrying two digital cameras, one an SLR identical to younger son's. Older son just has one digital camera but is using it to, among other things, document the dogs, street and pet, of Hue. Older son is a bit of a dog fanatic, and promising not to pet every dog he meets was a condition of his coming along given the threat of rabies.

Somewhere along the way, we will eat lunch, sometimes meeting the husband. This is made a bit harder by the fact that the sons and I do not have a cell phone. The university gave the husband one to use here, but the sons and I are unconnected. It's actually sort of nice. We have spent a bit of time in the mid-afternoon each day back here at the hotel, resting and re-hydrating before venturing closer to home in the late afternoon. We have done a bit of shopping, though there is much more to come. We eat dinner later here than we do at home, though at home I only make a "real" dinner three or four nights a week due to the martial arts schedule. We're going to bed earlier here than at home. I am at least, though the husband stayed up last night working on today's lectures. I can't remember the last time I actually was getting seven or eight hours of sleep on a regular basis. I could get very used to it.

I got an email last night from an old friend noting that Google Maps has Hue as a spot on a road, that there are no street maps given. I had already learned that, having looked for a map of Hue there myself. Here are a few more street shots to assure anyone who wonders that this is a real place, not just a dot on the map. The first is of a man carrying what looked like a load of rugs on one of the bicycle carts.
A promenade of sorts along Le Loi, one of the main streets. The river is to the left; there's a park-life strip in between the street and the river. The sign at the right edge of the photo is for a public WC, something I admit I haven't tried yet having seen the "warnings" in some of the guidebooks about carrying your own toilet paper, etc.
I took this one from the somewhat rundown Imperial Monument. In the background is what looked like a boat village. In the foreground is a woman in one of the long boats you see going up and down the river. Sometimes these seem to be carrying supplies; at other times, it looks as if people are fishing from them.
The front of the Imperial Monument ...

and a shot taken at the rear.

I told you it was somewhat rundown.

And now I'll post this, apologizing up front that the "Preview" function on Blogger is suggesting that some text might overlap some photos. I hope this won't happen on the published version, but here goes.


A. said...

We have WCs on the street as well, in France -- I am similarly adverse to trying any of them out, having heard some not so good things about cleanliness, etc.

Have you encountered any situations where you have to pay for bathrooms yet? I find it is often in a public space like a train station or shopping mall. That is one of the things that makes me miss the States the most.

Ps, I have an actual class today!

Jean said...


We have not yet run into pay toilets here, but I remember them from Europe. I remember some where one had to pay and others where the attendant had the equivalent of a tip jar. I never minded putting coins in that if the toilet was actually maintained, that is, the attendant were doing her job. Which reminds ... how do you know you're not in the states any longer? When you come out of the stall in the women's at the Frankfurt Airport and the attendant who is refilling the towel dispenser is a male.

Class? Is the strike over?


Debi said...

Wow...I finally know what Blaine looks like. :)

Gotta say, that sure sounds like a nice routine to me!

Terri said...

Hi Jean,

I am loving your posts. The pictures are amazing. I hope to get some great pics in Bali next week.

Keep them coming!!

Running Amok With An Ax said...

Sighhhh, this is giving me seriously itchy feet - I wanna go somewhere this intriguing! I'm loving the photos