Monday, June 30, 2014

Night Train to Danang and Bus to Hoi An--6/25-26

Since my train was not leaving Hanoi until 7PM, I had more time to wander around the Old Quarter and resisting all of the sales bargains I did not want to carry on the rest of my travels. I really wanted to get some Vietnamese weasel coffee, but I did not want to haul around an extra pound of stuff nor did I want to take the chance that the US Agricultural Inspectors would not confiscate it.
The Rising Dragon also negotiated a fair price for a moto taxi ride out to the Hanoi Train Station. They wanted me to go in a taxi, but since it was rush hour I figured that the moto taxi could weave in and out of any possible traffic jams we may encounter. I am sure glad that all of the drivers know about "weaving" traffic. They say their biggest road hazard are tourists who do not know how to cross in this "weaving" traffic.
I made it in plenty of time for my train departure and sat in the station a while. Lots of Vietnamese find it comfortable to sit on their haunches like this woman is doing. I guess that is why they prefer those squat toilets you find in so many places including the train carriages.

A fellow in a blue shirt who check my ticket when I entered the station motioned to me to follow him as the gates opened. I followed him ahead of everyone else and when he got me to my carriage and I entered, he tried to enter as well, but the train conductor did not let him. After I got to my cabin, I realized that he was just a tout and was probably expecting me to tip him for escorting me ahead of the other passengers. I guess not all blue shirst are train officials. Pretty clever business on his part which did not work to his advantage with me. Had I known that is what he was about, I would have just flowed with the crowd of passengers..
I ended up on the top bunk and early evening the other people in my cabin kept changing around until they finally settled in. My bunk mates were a father and son and a mother and small girl who ended up sleeping in the cabin. Apparently the mother and small girl were a part of a large group of Vietnames tourists bound for Hue because they all had the same orange and white baseball caps.
I needed the quilt to keep me warm during the night because the A/C was blasting out within inches of my head. It was very tough to wiggle out of the top bunk in the middle of the night for my bathroom break, but otherwise it was a comfortable sleep.

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