Train to Hoi An

Continued from Saigon Day 3.

Our last day in Saigon! I think we are going to be leaving Saigon with mixed feelings. On one hand, we really like the city, but then there’s the taxi driver incident, and then there’s the not too much to see and do here.


Breakfast.


The best thing about breakfast is that they give you these baguettes, but they are really soft, almost like rolls. Dipped in some strawberry jam, delicious.


They called this a pancake, but I think it’s a crepe.


We need to take care of some housekeeping items before we leave Saigon. Our train isn’t leaving until 7pm, so we don’t need to head to the train station until about 5:30pm. First, we need to mail some items back to the States, the TinTin pieces and some extra clothes in our packs that we realized are just deadweight.


Got into the dreaded Saigon taxi to go to the main post office.


Cool, our taxi driver was honest and got us here quickly and fairly.


Here, they’ll pack your items for you into a box.


That’s quite a bit of stuff we are sending back.


They literally tape every single surface on it to ensure that it doesn’t break and isn’t tempered with. Then afterwards, we took the receipt to another window to pay for it. We sent it by air, which will take around 2 weeks, and for 4.5kg, it was around $85. Not cheap, but better than sending it by boat which may take months and months. We do have a tracking number on our package, so hopefully…it’ll arrive. Fingers crossed.


More wedding photos!


Remember how we tried to find the helicopter building yesterday. Well, I looked on Google Maps again, and through a different way of searching, it gave this new building by the post office as the building. Again…we compared it to the photo, and it’s still wrong. Sigh, I give up. This makes me sad.


Time to try the Trung Nguyen Coffee though.


A man defeated by unable to find helicopter building.


They have a coffee that goes through some enzyme process to try to imitate Kopi Luwak, aka, poop coffee beans. Well, at less than $8 a cup, expensive but worth a try I guess.


My royal coffee vs. RL’s plebeian coffee. So, how did the coffee taste? It smelled amazing, I’ll give you that, but otherwise, I am not going to pretend like I am some coffee expert and knew what taste profile I should be looking for.


Time to write out some more postcards. We picked up some stamps while we were at the post office, so we can actually mail them out this time.


When we left the coffee shop, they gave us a free can of condensed milk. That’s great…but what are we gonna do with this? We eventually left it in the hotel for the maid.

We had wifi at the coffee shop, so we looked at some more photos of the helicopter building. In one of the more recent photos, we could see the Diamond Plaza building right behind it. RL thinks she may know where the building is. I’ll give it to her, she has a better sense of direction than me. Though, on this trip, her internal compass hasn’t worked as well as back in the States. Let’s see if she can find the building using visual cues.


The search continues!


She thinks we are close.


FOUND!!!!!! HHHAAAA!!!! Victory! RL found it!!


Here’s the original photo depicting the US evacuating US government employees during the fall of Saigon.


I think I am the only one in the world who cares about finding this building. There are no other tourists around.


Anyhow, for any of you who wants to find it, it’s right next to the Vincom Center building.


There’s a banh mi sandwich place around here that the swing dancers recommended, but they said it may or may not have closed. I guess we’ll find out.


It’s not here. We think it’s closed.


Walked to Ben Thanh market on the way back to our hotel. Since I got to Saigon, my GI has been doing amazing…until just now.


We just walked straight through and didn’t look at anything. It looks like a typical market.


Back to Wrap and Roll for late lunch.


I didn’t think so yesterday, but I tried other items here today, and the food is really good!! I ate up a storm.


That looks funny.


This too.

Ugh, something I ate this morning did not settle well. This is not going to be a fun overnight train ride. Imodium is my best friend.


Instead of hailing down a taxi, we just hired a car from our hotel for a transfer to the rail station. For $7, worth not having to deal with a potential headache.


It’s 5:30pm and there’s lots of traffic.


So many mopeds!!!


So many!!!!


Got to the station in about 20 minutes.


We can’t enter the platforms yet.


Get some last minute snacks and we wait.


Wasn’t a long wait. They let us in about 50 minutes before the train is set to leave.


Our compartment! It’s actually kinda shabby, and it’s a 4 bunk one. I miss our nicer 2 bunk train in Thailand.


We also found two giant bags of okras already inside our cabin. WTF? I looked in the compartment next door and they also had two big bags of okra in there. I guess someone is transporting many bags of these and just put a couple in every compartment.

A German backpacker couple were our bunk mates for the ride. This is a good thing because I could hear the people in the other compartments around us and there were many loud Vietnamese families with their loud screaming kids. It was a rowdy train ride. We are definitely the quietest cabin here.


The food service is pretty crappy too. We waited and waited and waited, and no food came. Finally, I hear foot cart wheels rolling outside, and opened the door to take a peek.


I guess this will do. Rice porridge with chicken. They were also selling the half formed chicken in egg on the train, I did not try. I am still having some stomach cramps, but I think the Imodium will hold out…I hope.

This train does not ride nicely. It’s noisy and the train sways and shimmies in all direction. I put on my headphones and slowly drifted in and out of sleep.

To be continued at Hoi An Day 1.

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