I was looking for a hostel for next couple of days as N was not able to host for longer time due to the birthday party and people coming over. I thought about putting SPG points to use and the redemption was great for the Sheraton in Hanoi and thanks to matched status, I was able to check in early and check out late.
I reached hotel around 9am and they gave me a room and I just slept. When I woke and looked at the watch it was 6pm and I was hungry. Next couple of days I spent around the hotel and doing nothing apart from walking down few streets and found an Indian restaurant and it was my late lunch place during the stay. Only thing I did in terms of productivity was update the blog for all the pending posts.
My 33 hour train from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city was in the evening the day I checked out from the hotel. I was relaxed but still in lazy mode. I was tired to go out and do local sight seeing ended up spending the first few days in Vietnam doing exactly nothing. I was looking forward to the train ride.
I reached the train station a bit early and was told to wait for half hour. They began boarding 30 minutes before departure time and my compartment had 4 beds, two at bottom and two on top. I was assigned the lower one. Upper beds were occupied by lovely Czech couple and across me on the lower berth was a local guy. I was the first one then the Czech came and we started talking once they settled and put there bags under the beds. They were on vacation for few weeks then the local Vietnamese man(T) came and he didn’t speak initially. I was still talking about the travel experience to the Czech couple and was asking lot of questions on Europe and Czech. I engaged the local guy as well, he was busy on the phone until then. He spoke little English, I had downloaded Google translate and it has been working great. I wrote basic questions in the app which translated it to vietnamese and showed it to him on the phone screen and after that he also downloaded the app on his phone and the conversation began.
I was writing on the phone and showing it to him and he was writing his reply on his phone in vietnamese and using the translator app converting it to English and showing it to me, it was fun. Initially I did some translation for the Czech couple who were watching the craziness, two people communicating with typing and pointing phones at each other, they soon retired to bed after seeing we were continuously on our phones. T worked for the local police but he knew quite a bit about India and it was impressive, he told me that he read a lot about Buddhism, one of his idea stuck with me, during our conversation he said “Don’t fight rocking of the train and just be” It was thoughtful and helpful and it added extra calmness to rest of the journey. T’s destination was just three hours away so we talked via translate the whole time and took a group selfie and exchanged emails.
It was now time to sleep on the rocking train. When I woke up in the morning Czech couple was gone and I was joined by a local lady with her 2 year old. She was on the lower berth across me which T had earlier and Czech had the upper berths and were empty now. People on the upper berth kept on changing frequently. Train passed through some scenic routes during the day.
Finally the train arrived in Ho Chi Minh City after two nights and one and a half days later.