The Train Ride

Vietnam (Sep 2009)

I had planned a trip to Vietnam with a number of friends, four of us in total, I had spent many day & hours planning the trip, searching the web for places of interest to visit throughtout Vietnam, keeping in mine the various timeframes and places that we had to be on certain dates during our visit.  As I do my planning I always feel that we can rest when we get back, so I like to fill as many hours as possible doind as many things as we can, this of course leads to a very interesting but exhusting trip, so I try to break it up every 5 days or so with a “day off” to catch our breath.

So part of my plan was that after the first stint of hard touristing in the South of the country, we would fly from Ho-Chi-Min City to Danang very early in the morning and without any pre-planned arrangements we would have to make our way to Hue, about 100klm to the North, by 3:00pm the following day (an easy enough thing to do you would think but that is another story), to catch a train that would take us to Hanoi, a fourteen hour relaxing train trip.

I had spend some time investigating the trains services in Vietnam, and decided to book our tickets on the overnight train from Hue to Hanio, the website showed some basic info on the trains, cabins etc, so I booked an air conditioned four birth cabin for the four of us in the “First Class” car of the train, this would take care of the sleeping and guess what, the website mentioned that there was a restarunt car and another drinks car with a bar, Wow we were set, this is going to be fun, so I promoted this to the others and we were all looking forward to the train trip, can’t wait.

Anyway despite the the various events of getting to Hue, which almost put all of us into either the hospital or the morgue, we did make it to Hue later that day, and we spent the following morning looking around Hue.

Three O’clock arrived and it was time to catch the train, the train was late but it did eventually arrive, there were people evrywhere waiting to get on the train, and although we had our tickets we were getting concerned about will we get on, it took us a while to find our cabin, as the signage was all in Vietnamese and very difficult to try and understand any instructions that we were given, as we were looking for the First Class car, it was there alright but

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