Happy (Lunar) New Year!
I left Hanoi by night train and got to know a few more kind Vietnamese people on board.
I arrived in the morning in the town of of Hue, the old imperial capital of Vietnam in the center of the country. I explored the old palace and had it nearly to myself in the evening.
Next I visited the coastal town of Hoi An, an ancient trading center with much of its old architecture still left intact. It was very peaceful.
Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, and others all left their mark on the city. Here I am with the old Japanese covered bridge. Do you like the pantsy pants I bought in Thailand?
I ate some of the best food of my trip in Hoi An. It is a foodies paradies. These filled rice dumplings, known as "white roses," are a local speciality.
At night the city came alive with music and lanterns, including floating laterns to be set free on the water.
Next I flew to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. Here I celebrated Tet, the Lunar New Year celebration, with hundreds of others in downtown Saigon. This is probably the biggest holiday in Vietnam and so there was a real party at midnight, with fireworks, music, and dragons!
I've had the day today to explore Saigon a bit more and found a nice perch for a fine evening shot of the city. This is in sharp contrast to the old timer streets of Hanoi.
Tomorrow I take a bus to Cambodia. Hopefully to see more cool things, eat more good food, and meet more interesting people.