Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Night Moves

Last night my two travel mates and I took the night train from Hanoi to Sapa, located in the northwest of Vietnam near the Chinese border. When we booked tickets, we were told that all of the 'hard sleepers' (the least comfortable and cheapest kinds of beds, the kind we wanted) were taken, and that there were only 'soft sleepers' (the nicer but more expensive kind of beds) left. Because the three of us are so cheap we forwent the beds and opted for 'hard seats' (which are exactly what they sound like - very hard seats). During the day this wouldn't have been much of an issue but since it was a night train, we were expecting the trip to be brutal in the extreme. How wrong we were.

We boarded the train at around 10PM to find that our hard seats were, as I said, just that. We groaned, already dreading the thought of sitting and sleeping on them for the next nine hours. Thinking that it might make falling asleep a little easier, we had brought some beers along with us. We started drinking and before we knew it, a couple of Vietnamese men (which our train car was full of, apart from two other foreigners) joined in. We began chatting with them, trying to pronounce sentences using my SE Asian phrasebook, which they found absolutely hilarious.

When we turned on some music things really got going. There were now several Vietnamese men in our gang at this point, some of whom we convinced to sing and dance to songs like Single Ladies and YMCA. Our original beer supply had long since been depleted but luckily there was a snack man selling beer who kept coming by. I'm pretty sure we were his best customers on the train.

Way too much beer and singing later, we finally wound our little party down at about 3AM. We managed to get a few hours sleep before the sun woke us up. Waking up a little hungover on a train was definitely an experience.

My explanation of the night cannot be done justice through words but it was probably the best night I've had here in Vietnam, and one of the most hilarious nights I've had during my whole trip - and we weren't expecting it at all!

We rang in each hour with a photo:

10 PM

11 PM

12 AM

1 AM  

2 AM

3 AM

Other highlights of the night included being offered a shot by the Vietnamese mafia...

By the time 6 AM rolled around we were completely delirious. In true Vietnamese style, one of my friends had decided to sleep on the floor under the bench.

An extremely eventful night and roughly 10 hours of travel later we arrived in Sapa. The view from our hotel room is incredible...

We spent the day catching up on our sleep but tomorrow we're off on a two day, one night trek to see rice terraces and ethnic minority villages - can't wait!


Anonymous said...

Alex- I'm finally caught up on all your blogs. I'm glad that you are able to bring the party wherever you go! Can't wait to hear more about your adventures in SE Asia. - Kalie

Wondering and Wandering said...

Haha, I try! More adventures to come I hope! Thanks for reading Kalie, hope you're well :)