Train to Hanoi

Continued from Hue Day 1.

Yesterday, we had made plans to see some of the Nguyen Dynasty tombs here in Hue. We could have gotten up early at 8am, and visited all the tombs plus a pagoda, but we decided against that. Since we’ve got a long train ride ahead of us, we decided to sleep in a little and just see two tombs then just relax until our train ride.


Breakfast included. Seriously, this is the best hotel deal. Room and breakfast for $20!!!


We wait for our car to pick us up, he’s running a little late. For $40, we could have seen all the tombs, but since we are only seeing 2 we only need to pay $32. I think that’s pretty steep, considering that our hotel is only $20!! It is what it is I guess.


OK, on our way out into the country to see the tombs.


There’s this random elephant out here actually doing grunt work. Probably has a much tougher life than those “exploited” elephants at the elephant camps.


Quite beautiful out here. This is through the tinted windows too!


Arrived at the perimeter of the tomb of Minh Mang.


This one feels very zen.


It’s all written in mandarin.


Kind of weird to take a photo in front of a tomb, but then I thought about it some more. Taj Mahal is also a tomb and everyone takes photos with it, including me.


It’s hot and humid out here, must hydrate. It’s hotter here in Hue than in Hoi An. We miss the cooler weather. I think the weather channel says the real feel is closer to 112 degrees over here.


Free range chicken. All I could think about was fried chicken. Speaking of which, I’ve been craving Pizza Hut and KFC, which they have here in Vietnam, but not much of other American fast food. Must, eat pizza and fried chicken!


We walked past this gate, and immediately we were engulfed by the buzzing sounds of horny cicadas dying to mate…or mating to die, if you prefer.


It’s those strange fruits again.


Dead cicada, hopefully died from too much sex.


What is KL looking at?


This.


That’s it. Apparently the emperor is buried in an underground palace behind those doors.


Well, that’s that, time to leave and head to the second tomb.


It is very beautiful out here though.


Good, our driver is still here.


The tomb of Khai Dinh.


This tomb was built in the 1920s, so much of it is actually made out of concrete.


That was awkward. While buying our tickets, this man in military uniform was screaming at the ticket lady. He paid, left angrily, then came back and opened his briefcase so that he could write down her name and screamed some more. Perhaps he was angry that she didn’t let him in for free since he’s a military official? Reminds me of the incident in Taiwan where that angry guy was yelling at the guy behind the immigration stamp counter.


RL bought a fan. It’s quite hot out here.


Reminds me of my dog. I miss him.


The actual crypt. No photos allowed inside, but everyone took photos, so we followed the herd.


A fat man cooling himself.


Saw another one of these giant beetle.


Well, that’s that. Time to head back in town now and get some lunch. Short and easy morning, though kind of hot. The tombs were decent, but not spectacular or anything.


For lunch, our hotel first recommended Golden Rice, which we already had last night. So their second recommendation was for this place, just a minute walk from our hotel.


So, all Vietnamese beers taste pretty much the same…I couldn’t really tell them apart.


Yum. Not quite as good as the dinner spot last night, but at half the price, I won’t complain.


Packed up and ready to go. Let’s tackle this last overnight train ride!


Waiting for our taxi.


Arrived at the station in no time.


We arrived about an hour early…perhaps too early. There’s not really anyone here, and there’s no AC here. Ugh, it’s hot. I am sweating and I feel disgusting already. So much for that shower right before coming here.


This is the only dining option here. I hope they have food on the train.


HA! I went exploring around the station, and felt a cold breeze. It turns out there’s an air conditioned room, and that’s where everyone else is at! It feels quite nice in here.


RL got this for me since I’ve been having a pizza craving.


Permitted Pizza Seasoning…Wait, what’s not permitted pizza seasoning?


Our train runs 30 minutes late, of course. But finally it arrives and they let us out onto the platform!


Is that a prison train with metal shutters?


We all have our heavy packs on and where’s the train? Seriously, where the fuck is the train?


Why let us out of the nice AC room out onto the hot platform if the train isn’t even here yet?


Finally, after 30 more minutes(I checked the photo time stamp), the train finally arrives! Ugh. I am super hot and sweaty now. Not happy.


Finally on the train. There was already a young Vietnamese traveler in our compartment. He spoke English and was very polite and nice, cool.


RL not happy about our long wait on the platform.


Through the dirty windows.


RL making my bed! :-)


They have food…but it’s questionable. Our bunk mate helped us order the food in Vietnamese and made sure that we get all the free add-on like soup and sauces. Awesome, it’s cool to meet friendly locals.


My questionable food. The meat was dry, it tasted like it’s been sitting out all day…I was hungry so I decided to eat it anyway. Funny how the most questionable food I had was on the train in Vietnam. Speaking of questionable food, we also bought some corn at the station…but it turned out to have been cooked for so long that it was rock hard and inedible…Ugh.

Other than the questionable food on the train, we think this may be shape out to be a decent overnight ride…we were dead wrong–it ended up being the train ride from hell.

To be continued at Hanoi Day 1.

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