The roadside stands just outside of Vietnam’s former imperial city, Hué, overflow with bundles of incense. When viewed en masse, these harlequin sticks resemble a textured kaleidoscope. The resulting cinnamon and sandalwood scent that wafts through the air is intoxicating.
All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers. – François Fénelon
On a bustling road leading to Hué’s once-grand Imperial City are sidewalk plots where vendors sell antique blue and white china, happy Buddha statues, and items reminding passersby of tragic chapters in Vietnam’s history. The items are harmoniously intermingled: North Vietnamese battle awards, French and American insignia, dog tags of South Vietnamese and American soldiers.
Many of the walls of Hué’s Imperial Enclosure and Forbidden Purple City bear the scars of war from decades past. There are walls devoured by mortar rounds and brick façades pock-marked by bullets.