Sunday, February 12, 2012

Night train to Da Nang

Before we went out to dinner last night I had arranged to skype Jenny. She had gone through to Cupar and we thought it would be a lovely surprise for Mum to have a video link with us. Unfortunately we couldn't get the video connection but we did have a chat.

Dinner was interesting. We returned to a restaurant where we had a particularly nice meal but it was full. Bummer! No. We were ushered through the back to a private dining room. The door was marked VIP.So we dined in splendour as very important people, summoning the staff with a remote controlled staff summoner. Great fun.

Anxious lest we miss the train we were at the station 2 and a half hours before departure. We had the company of one very hungry mosquito who clearly had designs on us for his feast. Dah! Dah! Super strong deet to the rescue! Armour donned our mosquito friend knew he was beaten.

An hour and a quarter before the train was due to leave a procession of 20-24 train crew marched past. They were all in step, in immaculate uniforms and pulling their wee suitcases. The sight would not be out of place at a major airport but looked incongruous at a rather down at heel and not very busy railway station.
45 minutes before departure we boarded. We found our berths in a none too salubrious compartment in an even less salubrious train. Would have loved to have seen your reaction Cath.

We were however well entertained. 10 mins before departure a couple of very large and very very loud Americans boarded our carriage. They walked up and down dragging their copious quantities of luggage, utterly unable to find which berths were theirs, and not even sure that they were in the right coach.All tickets are clearly marked with the train number, coach number and berth number in both Vietnamese and English.

 John took pity on them and translated the English on the ticket into American.In the process he showed them where their berths were.We heard them exclaiming the somebody was in their compartment. It turned out that they had booked 4 berths with a view to securing exclusive use of a compartment. Sensible enough but what they had actually booked was 2 berths each in adjacent compartments! Although it was really funny to overhear, we couldn't help feeling a bit sorry for them. We felt even more sorry for them a few minutes later when we heard a loud transatlantic accent proclaiming that there was no toilet roll. The Mrs then proclaimed that she couldn't find the showers! Methinks a long unpleasant journey lay ahead of them.

We shared our compartment with a nice young man from Saigon (sounds like the beginning of a limerick) who was going to Da Nang for his work. The other guy had only a briefcase and got off somewhere in the middle of the night.

We pulled into Dan Nang about 14.45. We are dirty and smelly but enjoyed the journey. I was delighted with my bladder function - 1 trip to the loo between 8pm and 16.30. I'm sure you all really wanted to know that!

We had planned to get a taxi to the bus station then bus to Hoi An but decided to ask what the fare would be all the way to the hotel. £14. Fantastic. Done!It's an hour on the bus with only 2 an hour. When we arrived at the hotel our already upgrade room had been upgraded further to a large ground floor room opening on to a garden terrace. If we had wanted that room we would have booked it. We wanted high up with a balcony. How do you decline an upgrade? I would have whinged and grumped the whole time so decided to bite the bullet and go back to reception. They couldn't believe that we were declining an upgrade but gave us a room we had booked. It's perfect. Top floor with balcony and view of the sea. Will post a pic later.

John is just back with supplies so it's shower, drinks on the balcony and dinner, R and R begins.


  1. I wouldn't be so keen on the train experience (very charitable of you to feel sorry for an American). It must have seemed odd to them to have someone decline an upgrade - strange Brits! A room with a balcony and view sounds much to be preferred though. Looking forward to the pics.

  2. What do you have to do to get an upgrade in a hotel? I haven't ever been able to get one!