Greg lies in bed for 16 hours with an upset stomach, or perhaps he has dysentery – perhaps he will die. I am spared similar symptoms either because of my stomach of steel (unlikely), or my early January bout with dysentery form Morocco fortified my stomach against foreign invaders.
We planned for a half-day motorbike excursion to the 19th-century pagodas and mausoleums surrounding Hue. In these pages, I would extol their ornate decadence in tropical splendor. A storm dumps rain over Hue. I lie on the hotel bed.
They say travellers in India should spend every seventh day ensconced in a hotel room to shut out the overwhelming cacophony and chaos outside. Today is our middle period, our seventh day inside.
I read a book, “The Boys in the Boat,” that transports me to 1930s Seattle and Berlin. For once, I play a video game, “Sword & Sorcery” on Greg’s tablet. I’m stuck battling the third moon triangle. I never play video games. So glorious to faff for an afternoon and evening halfway across the world in wet Hue, Vietnam.
I ponder the point of travel with the goal of doing it right, a winning of sorts over Vietnam. Am I here to have the most leisurely of times with servants to peel grapes and bars to swim up? Or is purpose historical, for me to tour all the ruins, temples, and cities? Or exploratory, where we discover the best Lonely Planet-recommended sites and smugly rate them? Or cultural, in which I master the language, meet the locals, get invited to homes, and understand what makes the country tick? What is the point? How do I keep score because I want to do travelling well?