Lost on Planet Earth – Mars Travel Journal – Vietnam Day Four

Vietnam 2011

Good Morning Vietnam!

Tuesday, 6 December 

Day 4 – Halong Bay to Hanoi – Overnight Sleeper Train

I woke up around 1 am feeling hot, my face and chest was dripping with sweat, I sat up on the bed and looked out the port hole…. It felt as though I had been punched in the stomach, flinging the remaining sheets off me I ran the short distance to the bathroom, closed the door and stuck my head in the toilet…. It wasn’t pretty….. I was having an allergic reaction to some crab juice that may have been cooked with other meals we had on the boat for dinner.  I’m highly allergic to crab meat, It took me many days to recover fully.

Over breakfast (all I ate was a banana, and even that wasn’t going to stay down for long), our tour guide organised tips for the boat crew and the bus driver who was taking us back to Hanoi today.

After boarding the small boat back to Halong Bay docks, I purchased post cards of the bay and the tour group boarded the bus to Hanoi City.  Along the way the tour bus stopped at a pottery factory, where we learnt how the locals make and paint the ceramic vases, plates, tea cups etc in a village.  I purchased a plate with a village, river and Ox on it.

Back on the bus, we watched the road with the crazy out of control traffic and chatting to distract me from feeling sick.  We arrived in Hanoi about 2pm in the afternoon.  After checking into the Hanoi hotel again we put our bags down, refreshed ourselves and decided to explore the city one last time.  Walked a few blocks to the Hanoi Hilton, this isn’t the fancy hotel you would expect it to be, the guest here were locked behind bars or chained to the floor.  Hanoi Hilton is a Prison.

The prison is a very eery and disturbing place, the walls are filled with information boards about the Prison, its occupants, the daily on-goings, how they were tortured, feed.  Sirens and sounds of shackles play in the background of each room to set the mood, it almost feels like your really there, locked in a prison, at times what I read and heard was making me feel ill and uncomfortable.  The Prison Toilet received 4/5 happy faces.

Back at the hotel we showered and rested before going out to stock up on some food for the sleeper train part of our journey to Hue, the street our hotel was on a convenance store was called “Kick-E-Mart” we purchased some goodies here, and at the bakery down the street also.  We had dinner with the group and our tour guide took us up to a rooftop cafe and bar to look over Hanoi city at night. Hanoi you’re so beautiful.

Packed and ready we meet at 10pm in the lobby to board the bus for the cities train station.  We were to share a four burth sleeper cabin with two other young female guest on the tour, we all stayed up and chatted until the train left the station at 11pm at night.  The train rocked the entire night, our burth was close to the 1 happy face toilet for me to continue running to when I felt ill again and again.  The Vietnam sleeper train will never be a fond experience for me.

Odd Observations:

  • Bakery food is tastes amazing!
  • Don’t use the toilets at bus or train stations.
  • Pringles are so much fun to eat on holidays.
  • Bring your own sleeping bag for the sleeper train, the sheets and pillow supplied where not 100% clean.
  • The sleeper train needs double beds so you can sleep next to your partner.
  • When four suitcases and other bags are in a four burth cabin, it can get pretty tight.
  • Also the ventilation on the train isn’t very good.
  • OH! Always bring your own food when travelling by train, the range on offer for the locals… You wont want to touch it looks like straw brewed in hot water.