Not for the first time in this trip, we were stopped by the side of the road, looking at a map when a local person approached to ask if we needed help with directions.
This particular day in Hue, a local guy approached and asked where we were going. We told him that we were going to some of the tombs – the area is famous for having a lot of them. You can book an organised tour, hire a moped / motorbike or hire a bicycle. We opted for cycling.
This guy was on a moped and said he would take us to the sights as he wanted to be able to speak English with a native English speaker. We’ve heard enough examples of that happening, the guy seemed ok – he was well dressed and already spoke pretty good English.
We allowed him to direct us to the first temple which he did. It wasn’t particularly far but for him on a moped driving a speed that two cyclists were going at must have been difficult.
During the bike run, the two of were wondering what the guy was going to gain from this and assumed that he would want money from us later in the day as a tip – that seemed fair enough, if he was going to give up his day to show us some local sights, we’d have been happy to cross his palm with silver.
Anyways, the bike run to the first temple was over with and we parked our bikes at a place near the temple. I’ve wrote before about how you pay to park your bikes, you’r’e actually paying for someone not to damage or steal the bikes.
They were pretty high end ‘Giant’ bikes and they seemed to get a bit of attention from the locals – they were very good bikes so we were happy to pay someone to “look after them”.
As we were entering the temple, our newly acquired employee was on the phone, we expected him to follow us into the temple so that he could practice his English. We were also hoping for a bit of local info on the place as well.
Instead, he waited outside for us. There was no English to be practiced here and when we looked it seemed that he disappeared.
Due to the fact that he was not getting to practice any English as he wasn’t in the temple with us and was unable to chat to us while driving, we grew a bit suspicious.
In the sweltering heat of the temple grounds, we had a bit of a meeting and came to a joint decision that we would fire the man if he was still there.
So we acted in a ruthless manner and “let him go”. He seemed a bit disappointed but we couldn’t really figure out what he had to gain by just driving to show us where to go.
Perhaps he was genuine enough but when we said we were happy to go about the rest of the day on our own, he asked if we had any books that we could give to him to allow his daughters to learn English. I don’t know if it’s just me that finds that one strange but why someone cycling in 30 odd degree heat would carry books with them this is beyond me.
The guy left, we went on our ways with our maps and got something to eat.
At the next temple, we found another place that wasn’t the real entrace to it. A local guy sold cold juices and, if you bought a drink from him, you could park your bike free of charge.
The entrace was about 200m round a little dirt track so this guy was just chancing it and making a few bob from tourists but he was nice enough and the cold drinks were welcome.
The next temple grouds were massive but by this time, I think we were a bit “templed out”. I read that phrase on a travel blog before when it said that you have visited too many temples and you get to a point where you find they are all a bit too similar.
On the way back to our accommodation, we did pass a large pagoda so we went in there and a local woman was eager to show us around.
Inside the temple, she gave us some incense sticks to put in as an offering. Then took some pictures of us, showed a few other parts of the temple and then wanted a dollar from us.
We could have went round the place ourselves and felt a bit miserable not giving her anything but we only had a bigger note and one small note that was almost worthless. She didn’t seem too bothered though as another two tourists turned up as we were leaving so maybe they’d give her a dollar ?
On the way back, we stopped at the grounds of one other temple but that was more for a break than anything else. Our supply of oreo biscuits came in handy. Refuelled and running on biscuit power, we went back to where we hired the bikes from to return them.