Vibrant Vietnam - 2007

HUE We all relished the irony of our flight from Hanoi to Hue aboard Vietnam Airways. Our pilot was announced as an American female and we cheered those fascinating steps forward. Then the cabin of the plane was filled with the sounds of American jazz music for the rest of our short flight.

I MPERIAL C ITY - P URPLE F ORBIDDEN C ITY The bombing of Hue during the “American War” did destroy much of the ancient legacy of buildings from the period when Hue was the capital city of the southern part of Vietnam. However, many of the tombs of the Nguyen emperors have been restored and rebuilt; the partially destroyed Citadel and Purple Forbidden City are dramatic reminders of the power these rulers once wielded. Because these emperors considered themselves much higher not only in power but also in spiritual importance than their subjects, they built their tombs and palaces on hills and ramparts so that they could be protected more easily. But did they need to be protected from an injured tourist like me too? The many steps up and down were often dismaying to me (at least to my ankle) but the climbs and descents were always well worth the effort required and the pain engendered.

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