We wouldn’t know. It was raining so hard the day we did it, we couldn’t see much beyond the carriage windows…and they were so dirty, I don’t know how much we’d have seen through them even if it was fine.
So the whole purpose of our only Vietnamese train trip went in vain, and in the process we managed to completely traumatise ourselves and our children.
Next time, it’s Vietnam Airlines all the way.
We crowded onto the Hue platform with all the other passengers, plus our (and their) luggage waiting for the train to arrive. Luckily a local uni student who was heading to Danang to do an exam (which she hoped would allow her to go to do further study in the United States…in particle physics, no less…) befriended us and showed us the ropes, as all the announcements were (not surprisingly) in Vietnamese and it was not at all clear what we had to do.
The train pulled into the station. Those people getting off in Hue disembarked (with their luggage). And with a sense of great urgency, those getting on clambered up to the doors, dragging their bags behind them. Our new friend had an anxious expression, and translated for us the announcement that there was just five minutes for this process to be done. In total.
The whistle was going…indicating that the train was pulling away NOW!
At this point The Impossible Princess and Queenie were inside the carriage…but we.were.still.on.the.platform.
With a superhuman effort, I threw one suitcase up over my head onto the carriage and scrambled aboard…I was determined at least one parent was getting on with them. The Poolboy launched himself up the ladder to the carriage behind me, and the door was slammed on his heel. Literally.
Then the train lurched away. We had to find our seats, haul our luggage up onto the overhead racks and reassure our children who thought they’d been abandoned to travel the Vietnamese countryside alone.
The seats were all broken. The carriage was dirty. And this was the best class of carriage on the train.
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