Monday, May 7, 2007

Hue-Hanoi, Vietnam: 6May07

Eyes opening train ride!

Today was a transportation day. The train was in the afternoon so i got the whole morning to shop around. But it happened that i met a Spainish guy while having breakfast, so i ended up did not have time to shop. We talked for hours!

By the way, i like the pancake in Vietnam. It was so delicious and it just wasn't the kind of pancake we eat in Singapore or Malaysia. Every city in Vietnam cook it in a slightly different way, but it just tastes equally good!

Well, this Spainish guy planned for his round the world trip 2 years ago and saved for 3 years. He quited his job and started to travel around Asia. This was his 6.5 months already. The interesting thing about him (which was making our conversation lasted so long) was that, he does mediation. He stared with doing yoga and then read a bit about meditation and started to do it himself. He actually practising meditation every morning and night. He was kind of became my inspiration then. i should really continue with my daily mediation eventhough i am travelling. In the other way, if i really wanted to make it to Europe, then i really need to be more thrifty when i finished my 'great tour'. But the different between me and him is, he doesn't has a family to think of while no matter what, supporting or meeting the expectaions of family is kind of life my 'life time mission'.

During lunch, i saw a Chinese solo girl. i was about to leave the restaurant then. i basically just went to her table and said, "Hey, i guess you are traveling alone too." Then bla bla bla. The normal usual kind of questions. i found it really interesting in the sense that, i think female solo traveler tends to hook up to each other than male solo travelers. Traveling solo for woman is still kind of like not as easy or even common than solo male, or else, there won't be a branch or session for woamn solo in Lonely Planet. So women tend to encourage and sharing tips among each other.

i also started to realise that, English is really important to know new friends. Many folks especially those Japanese were very shy to talk to others because normally they don't have good command of English. In the other way, i don't feel arkward to talk to others because i speak relatively good English (despite my grammar errors, people do understand me well enough).

Well, about the train trip to Hanoi. The first moment i stepped into the coach, i thought "Oh, My God!" i knew why the ticket seller was so surprised when i told her that i wanted a hard seat ticket. Basically i saw people picnic in the coach! People were eating and attending to kids by sitting on the floor (with their own map). Some were even slept on the floor. i have never been to a train like this before, neither do i ever take an overnight train before. The hardseats were made from wood at a 90 Degree angle and they expected 3 people to sit on the bennch which is only probably 1 meter long!

Since i was there already, so there was nothing i could do. People in the coach spoke little or basically no English at all. We kind of used body language and sign language to communicate. They were just some common Vietnamese folks, kind and may be leading not as easy life. Interaction with the local (if there were any at all) was probably the only good point of taking this train. i swore that, i wouldn't take a hardseat for Sapa night train!

There were 5 of us to share this 2 rows of hard bench facing to each other. The Vietnamese people was really kind. 3 of them actually slept on the floor, so that the other guy and me got to sleep on the hard bench.

The other thing about the train was, everyone throw rubbish from the window of the train. Consider how many trains are working everyday, then the amount of rubbish was really huge. With the kind of toilet system as well, i think everyone of use contribute our waste to the railway too.

Vietnamese train, cabin. Probably a third class, hard seat!

Train toilet. Whatver one releases will go on to the track without process!

One of the many kinds of banana pancake. i prefer the banana pancake to have the banana cooked together with the pancake and not topped on the pancake.
Well, anyway, the kind of pancake in Vietnam is not the kind of pancake i took in Singapore.

1.) Transportation: 16000 D (From Hotel to Train Station)
2.) Food: 80000 D
3.) Others: Post card 6000 D + Stamp 8000 D


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