For the first time in several weeks I had to be at a certain place at a certain time (for catching the train south to Nah Trang). Normally travelling by pushbike, there is no stress. The only costs I have are food which is more often than not at the same price locals pay and accommodation that is often off the beaten track so not priced for westerners. I usually get nobody trying to rip me off at a train station, nobody charging 4 times the normal amount for breakfast that’s half as good as it should be. This morning made me really appreciate what backpackers have to put up with and to be honest, make me really glad I am on a bike (most of the time). I write this as I sit on the train – currently my bike is hopefully on a different train a couple of hundred km behind me. The train I am on does not have a cargo section so my bike had to leave on a separate train. I’m not sure if this is brave or just plain stupid. There seemed to be a good system in place at the station with receipts and baggage tags though, so fingers crossed.
Last night I ate western food for the first time in a couple of weeks at an Italian restaurant and even splashed out on the first glass of wine since I left home. You really appreciate these fine things we take for granted back home when you can’t normally get them.
Being the tourist destination Hue is, I encountered a fair few folk offering me drugs and women. ‘Hash’,’coke’,’lady, I have cheap lady for you’. Not tonight thanks, I’m not really into cheap ladies. Not that I’m into expensive ladies either, just so you understand… They can be quite relentless and saying no seems to encourage them to ask you more, though I have found wagging a finger, without looking at them gets the message through and they give up straight away.
Update – after dumping my bags in a hotel in Nha Trang I returned to the station to pick up my bike, where I was more than a tad worried it would have vanished. Thankfully, it came through no problem, but I’m not sure I could handle the nerves of that again! Putting my bike on a different train? What was I thinking!!!