The travelling aspect of travelling is sometimes the least fun part of the whole seeing the world thing. Airports are boring and you are made to get to them far too early (presumably just to get to you to pay more that is reasonable for a cup of coffee and a sandwich), buses can be slow and sometimes uncomfortable, boats can make you feel seasick….and therefore we are glad that Vietnam allows you to perhaps use the best of all forms off long distance travel, the train.
One of the things we are slightly excited about is the the fact that from Saigon all the way to Beijing, we can let the train take the strain. Today is our first experience of Vietnamese trains.
As our journey is only a day trip we opt for the cheaper soft seat with air-conditioning rather than a sleeper room, but not the bargain option of a hard seat without A/C. Apart for the A/C being a little over sold as it only seemed to operate for about an hour of the 11 hour journey the experience was overall positive and a great way to see some of the country and the people.
Shockingly the train departs bang on time and is pretty much full. There are very few western faces onboard, and we are surrounded by Vietnamese playing cards, watching the quite simply awful ‘Rail TV’ or trying to pacify their tired and bored children with various electronic gadgets.
A constant supply of coldish drinks and food trundles past (which is probably as representative of Vietnamese food as the British Railway packet sandwich is of ours). The time is useful to catch up on blogs, journals and photograph sorting, but by the end of the journey we are glad to get off feeling hot and a little tired.
What could have been a pretty dull and average day was rescued by a wonderful evening. Travelling means that you don’t often get to have an evening out with friends, but tonight we have managed to arrange to have dinner and drinks with Morgan and Andrew (a couple we met on our Mekong Delta tour) and Jane and Rob (who we met in Australia in 2012 and more recently in Luang Prabang). An evening of laughter, beer and food with friends is a great way to make the endless journeys all worthwhile.