Oct.29 – Day 9 – We got to the train station in the early evening. We are taking an over night train to Hue. The station is about a quarter full at first. There are two young French men talking with a local man. He has a bag full of fruit that he is sharing. He seems to be a little drunk. He is a shoe repair man, or so he says. The two French men are friends. One is an electrician and the other is a biologist who works with birds. Their English is much better than my French. We visit for a while.
There are are four people from Spain sitting on the bench in front of us. I speak passible Spanish and started to talk with them a little. They are two young couples off for an adventure. One couple has a small child. They are pleasant and enthusiastic about their trip.
I heard many Latinos speaking Spanish around me and talked to all that I could. I found some from Mexico, Spain, and Columbia. For some reason I was surprised at this. I guess I was just listening better closer than usual. I am unafraid of speaking Spanish and making a fool of myself. It helps me remember my Spanish. Use it or loose it.
The group is now fourteen. Several have decided to fly to Hue rather than take the train. One young fellow most certainly made the right decision. The beds were far too short for him to be comfortable in. We purchased a thin sleeping bag for a few dollars. It was made of the same material as a ladies thin night gown. The room on the train was almost square with two sets of bunk beds.
Our roommates were English and members of our group. We are all friends now and it feels perfectly normal to sleep in the same room with this other couple. There was a toilet at the end of the car with a separate vanity area for washing up. It was not awful. There were some smallish creatures traveling for free, but that is to be expected in a warm climate. The rooms were very clean and comfortable. The night passed without incident. Except for some snoring from someone who shall remain, nameless.
There was a young boy down the hall of about three who was looking for trouble, however. We met on neutral territory. Soon he came to visit and challenged me over and over again. He was a handsome fellow. He introduced himself and then he dropped his drawers. Typical for one his age. I did not return the favor. He was pleasant enough, but then things turned a little sour and I had to close our door. He banged on it and banged on it for some time to get me to come out to play. I refused. I am always singled out by drunks and small children as an easy mark.
He left eventually and we went to sleep, I think. I saw him the next morning and our friendship had survived the ordeal. He was a forgiving chap.
The train ride was very pleasant and made viewing the countryside easy. That is why we came after all, to see the land and to meet its people.
The country is breathtaking.
We are off to India again on the 17th of December for three weeks.
If you need travel books or just books to take on vacation, call Anne at Carnival Books in Orange, California. Her number is 714-538-3210. Tell her that R.C. Hand gave you her number. We need to support our local businesses and especially book stores.