Sunday, October 14 – Saigon & On the Train, Vietnam

Leave for Hanoi tonight at 11pm. First train!
Had breakfast this morning at the hostel. Why is it that all the countries once occupied by the French (ie: Cambodia and Vietnam) still have the best bread? I’ve started drinking tea instead of coffee – I can drink it black and I’m slowly cutting away dairy and refined sugars where I can*. And coffee is one of those places.
This train trip is not going to take nearly as long as I thought it was. Instead of November 15th, I’ll be in London on November 2nd! I’ve emailed Orla to see if I can stay with them for a bit. If a go, then I’ll talk to Brendan and see about staying with him in Belfast. I’ve already spoken to Stu. I’m worried about money, but at least accommodations will be cheap! This might work out for the best – if I went straight to London and started working right away (which is, of course, the plan), who knows when I would get to see those guys… and I miss them all so much!
I hate waiting. I got up at 7am to be ready for this tour. Now it is 8:30am and I’m still waiting. Boo-urns!  At least it isn’t raining!
Yesterday at the market I bought two pairs of linen pants. Totally comfy. This is what I find funny: the woman told me, "high quality"** but the button hole wasn’t even cut out.
Later: On the train
First class just ain’t what it used to be. I’m happy I didn’t go second, or "hard sleeper"!  This is hard sleeping enough!  First class just means I have the bottom bunk. There are four beds in this room – me and four Vietnamese people. Yah. Four.  But the kid is pretty cute and so far he is quiet. I think he is traveling with his grandfather. There was another woman with them for awhile, but then she left. She appeared later outside the train. She stood there with one hand on the window, crying and saying goodbye.  It was pretty touching. It is also cool how close the boy is to his grandfather, who is certainly old enough to remember the war. Overall, it seems pretty comfortable and the movement of the train is already lulling me to sleep. I’m nervous about when to get off the train. The announcements are so scratchy I can’t even decipher which language they are in.  Hopefully Hanoi is the end of the line, or hopefully someone will realize there is a vaguely retarded white girl in Bunk 5.
Overall, even when there are changes to plans, they work out. Today, because I couldn’t get on the SE6 train, I had an extra day to spend in Saigon***.  So today I saw a temple and war tunnels. I was going to write about that tonight, but I’m very sleepy already. I’m sure I’ll wake early tomorrow. I’ll write then.
*Sadly and, one could say, predictably, this didn’t last. Or rather, it DID… until I got to a country with ginger snaps and other good stuffs.
**Several fucking times.
***Officially, it is "Ho Chi Minh City", but I’m too lazy to write/type/say that every freaking time, so I constantly called HCM by its old name, Saigon. I like that better anyway.

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