A train bound for nowhere


My first overnight sleeper was last night and I don’t know why, but I was dreading it when I should not have been. I’ve booked the soft sleeper, which is 4 beds in one compartment.  It’s called a soft sleeper as there are two grades of sleeper, both soft and hard, the latter of which I’ve heard is just wood. A few Wales fans at the station heading to Hanoi for a few days before they head back for the final of the China cup.

A bit of banter with 3 in the station pays of as one is in with me and the other two next door. Shock horror, he’s from Cardiff. I go down the wrong end of the platform so I’m last on. Two young bucks travelling for 4 months, Tom and ?????,  in our compartment and the chat is good. Both on a budget of £30 per day and travelling for 4 months.

We exchange stories till we get to the border as they have also been to Guangzhou and Nanning as well and are planning on going to Beijing at the end of their trip. Interesting to hear some of the food they’ve eaten like donkey, donkey dick, pigs intestine and bamboo juice. I use the internationally recognised hand of friendship, offering them one of my Pabst blue Ribbon beers. Well appreciated, even tho a sixer only cost me about £2.00. Helps cos their on a budget.

Tom’s interesting and we talk politics and footie and he bunces into the chats with me and the Welsh chap, who tells me a story about a good friend of his, who got himself a Vietnamese wife. You know, the kind you pay for, like Thai and Phillipino brides. What’s amusing is he says she’s not even that good looking – It must be love I say; and now I cant get that Madness tune outta a head. It should have maybe been my song choice.

First stop at the China side of the border where we have to lump off our luggage, have it scanned and go thru passport control. In an hours time we will have to do the same in Vietnam, jeez. There are tour parties that push their way to the front. The lassie looks at me, the passport, me, the passport and me again. She’s unsure, she must think I have maybe died my hair.

Anyway, we get through with not too many stresses and 30 mins later we set off. 12.22am, as advised, we hit the Vietnam side and its the same, luggage scan, passport check and back on the train. I get into ma shorts and t-shirts cos its bedding down time now. all 4 of us in our bunks and its ‘Good night John boy’, ‘good night Sue Ellen’, the joke was lost on my cell mates.

The bed is comfy and big enough for me to spread out on. Their is air con, so comfortable and when the lights go out its pitch black, apart from the mobiles were all looking at. I set my phone alarm for 3.30am, in about 2 1/2 hours, cos I’m gonna try and get the Scotland game, by hook or by crook. One buzz on the alarm and i’m up. to be honest, its has been 30 mins, turn over, 30 mins, turnover all night.

Radio Scotland – unable to broadcast, grrr. Try BBC online and links through Facebook and nothing. Check the score on my score app and were 1-0 down. More over, the first half is finished. Going over the border the clock goes back an hour and to say I’m a little pissed off would be an understatement. Back to sleep Wardy.

We roll in at 5.30am and the chaps give me holler, say ta ta and roll of the train. I’m last, proper last, getting changed and I’m off the train about 10 seconds and getting harassed about a taxi. I’ve read about them, stay away as they take you elsewhere and rip you off.

I cant get into the gaff until about 2pm, so 8 hours to kill anyway, I hot foot it. The same taxi driver is following me beeping. I’m tempted to boot his taxi. Off I go, I have already mapped the journey 2.1 kilometres and I can have a good look about, should be quiet this time of day – bloody hell no! Park is full of dance classes, runners and those practising their zen. Cockerels and chickens walking the street and wee small bug things.

The sun has got its hat on and I get to a bridge, bikes and cars only, damn!. I flag a taxi, who takes me to the gaff, but still 2pm check in, maybe 12.00. I leave my bags and go for a wander. I’ve discovered iced coffee for the first time and I’m loving it. I’m back, its 9.30am and I got a bottle of gin for 250,000 dong, which I haggled from 300,000. How much is 250k – £7.76 and I haggled from £9.32, to get £1.56 off my 70cl of Gordon’s – I feel like such an asshole.

So, I’m on the free reception wifi, updating my blog and drinking Gordon and Tonic @ 9.30am on a Saturday morning. Why?, cos I can baby, how’s your Saturday shaping up. The nice, young chap on reception has got a tick. He repeatedly says ‘Go’ at intervals when its quiet, so much now I don’t even notice. I thought he was shouting me to begin with.

I’m thinking I might get a foot massage while I wait. My feet are honking tho. I left the gaff at 12 yesterday, walked about 2-3k and headed to the train, which left at 6.05pm to 5.30am. I’ve now walked about another 2k since and I’m louping a bit.

Last post for a  couple of days. The Old Town is full of boozers and clubs, come 6pm after a snooze, I’m on a bender till Monday. I’m a millionaire here, £1 – £32, 239 dong and I’ve just taken out £300







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