Just Another Day

Hue Travel Blog

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In the morning, The Canadians and I headed to the Citadel. We got there and tried to be interested, but to be honest, we weren't. It was probably a combination of the heat and not knowing enough about the significance of what we were seeing. We walked around for a bit and then left. The Canadians went off to a market and I went back to the hotel. I showered and got my stuff ready and then walked around the neighborhood. We had the longest overnight train ride ahead of us and were leaving in the late afternoon. Right before we were supposed to leave, I decided to eat a late lunch and get some snacks for the road.

Every person in every store or restaurant I walked by tried to convince me to come in. Moto drivers followed me down the street asking me where I was going and tried to convince me that I needed a ride.
I realize that there's a story behind each vendor and that they are just trying to make a living. But sometimes in Vietnam they can be really pushy and it eventually starts to wear away at you. I think many people who've experienced this can attest to that.

I walked by a small shop where an old man smiled sincerely at me and motioned for me to come in his shop. I did. For once, I wasn't overcharged for my purchases and he made a big deal about making sure he didn't short me on change. He radiated kindness and he just about broke my heart. I know it doesn't sound like anything major, but the undesirable experiences illuminated the positive ones and made them seem more special. Sometimes in Vietnam, you feel like people have taken the friendliness and charm they are known for to the extreme to try to capitalize on the boom in tourism.
Vietnam is an incredibly beautiful country that has so much going for it, I wish people there would just let that speak for itself.

Our train cabin had been occupied before we got there, but the attendant was nice about collecting the used sheets and giving us new ones. This was the first train ride where we were able to get a good glimpse of the scenery. I stood in the hallway and chatted with people in our group and looked out of the window as we passed through small villages.

People were awake for several hours and it was a louder train ride than the previous ones. A lot of people were hanging out in the hallway. There was a cute toddler who was wearing shoes that squeaked everytime she ran up and down the hallway. There was another tour group of people who sounded like they were Irish and/or English. They were going wild and drinking up a storm of beer and whisky. It seemed like they were having fun, but I did not envy their inevitable frequent overnight train bathroom visits. Then I remembered that it was St. Patrick's Day. I guess they were just making the most of spending the night stuck on a train!
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photo by: Paulovic