When I think of trains I think of that scene in Dumbo where the train is going up hill saying, “I think I can I think I can…” Just me? Anyone? Well anyways, here we are on the overnight train from Saigon to DaNang. From Southern Vietnam to about the middle of the country.
In talking to some friends, we had heard how the train was an interesting experience. D found the website: http://www.seat61.com several hours of research later we were train bound. This is the first of two overnight trains we will take to see parts of Vietnam. If D had his way this whole trip would be one big train ride, but time does not allow for that much train travel.
We got beer and bahn mi at a shop at the train station and boarded. It is somewhat nostalgic. Not that I have ever been on a train before, but there is something about it that just seems like we have transported to a different era. We busily wiped down some of the areas of our sleeper car with wetones and had to ask for a new sheet, since mine had dirt on it. We each brought a flat sheet to roll up in to be doubly sure we were not going to invite insects to sleep with us. Overall, though it was clean.
Did not get bunk mates until the next stop. An adorable little girl and her mother. They do not seem to speak any English or understand my crude attempts at speaking Vietnamese, but we have communicated through smiling.
It is surprisingly comfortable. The train does rock you to sleep. I slept soundly till about 3 or 4AM when they stopped at one of the major beach towns. I drifted in and out of consciousness until about 5AM when it was apparent there was no going back to sleep, just scenery to take in.
Rice paddies, farmers in their fields with their cows, forested hills, and the small towns whiz by outside the window from our train car. The occasional food cart will go by selling pho, popcorn, and coffees. By the way, if you have yet to try Vietnamese coffee do not start, it is like crack! So good!
We stopped at a few stations thus far, but my favorite was Tuy Hoa. They have these stalls that the women open as soon as the train pulls in to pick up and drop off. They call to you from the windows, “yo, yo” while raising their baguettes and canisters of their version of pringles. Once we discovered that we could get out for the brief stop we got out and bought some rice, spinach, and fish. It was delicious. The fish reminded me of smoked salmon, but it was some other fish.
We still have 3 more hours or so left to ride the train, but so far train travel is a fun way to see the countryside.
We now have officially met Han & Thiet. They are from Hue and it was their first time on the train too. It was fun to try to communicate and talk about Vietnam. They were even generous and nice enough to share their mang cut (mangosteen) fruit with us. The people of Vietnam continue to impress me with their friendliness and love.
Sayonara for now… D&M