Instead of staying in a hotel, getting up early and busing it to our next stop, Nha Trang, we took a night train from Point A to Point B. It is more fitting to call it a party wagon on tracks.
I had never taken a sleeper train before, but Marv has in China. Much like his previous trip we got down to partying immediately upon settling into our spacious 5' x 6' room (designed for 4 people). We bought out the cold beer supply at the station, which was just enough to tide us over until the beer selling cart came rolling through the train, which we promptly bought out.
There was a restaurant/bar carriage of the train where Marv went and made good friends with some drunken locals. Their communication consisted entirely of hand gestures and translating between English and Vietnamese on an iPhone. The guy was celebrating his recent casino win of $1,000 - almost his wife's entire yearly income. Marv bought the locals a round of beer in celebration of the guys good fortune.
The train departed HCMC at 8:05 p.m. and should have arrived to Nha Trang at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m. Trains "are always late in Asia" so we didn't roll in until 5:30.
Yeah, not so fun when you got to bed at 2 a.m. and don't have a hotel room until 1 freaking p.m.
It should be mentioned we were in the "super deluxe" train compartment. There were people on this train who had to sit in airplane-like seats the whole night.
Here is the aftermath, we were aiming to fill the entire window but we only got 3 levels deep:
We got to our hotel to drop our bags off at 6, and since Nha Trang is a popular beach side location there were no rooms available for early check in. So this leaves us 7 hours with nothing to do and nowhere to go - on 2.5 hours of sleep. So not fun!
Our hotel has a pool and beach right next door so after dropping off our bags we high tailed it out of there in search of the best (meaning most sun-less) place to crash for the next 7 hours.
We were really, really fortunate to find a few beach chairs by the pool - completely shaded from the evil burning sky orb - which we immediately called dibs on. We snuggled in and promptly fell asleep. Mine didn't have a cushion but sleeping on rock hard wood with my purse as a pillow (and a towel for a blanket) was the best sleep I've gotten in a while.
Lucky for us a room became available at 11 a.m. so we were only left homeless for 5 hours instead of 7. We got a few more hours of sleep, so our "night" of sleep was pieced together in 3 parts between the hours of 2 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Once we rejoined the land of the living we headed out into the town in search of food. Google maps lead us astray, so we were in the least touristy party of town and it was a surprisingly difficult task. The place we eventually found had an array of frufru, non-alcoholic drinks. I had a banana/peanut shake - how crazy delish is that?! Total price of the meal per person: $3.
Nha Trang has the world's longest cable car that runs from the mainland out to an island. We were psyched to see the beautiful panoramic view of the city and ocean, until we realized you have to pay the entrance fee for their amusement park also, you can't just pay $5 for the cable car like you used to. Ergo, they lost our business. I'm not paying $15+ for a half hour of enjoyment. Boo to you, Vinpearl Land.
Instead a bunch of people went to the market, which is meant for locals, not tourists, but I stayed back to write this blog post for you. The thought of sweating my way through yet another market makes me want to stab my eyes out. However I am in search of a bag to carry our laptop, books, etc., so I need to start participating again in the market going. The ICA grocery bag I've been carrying for a week is starting to make me look ghetto with a capital G.
This is the first place I've noticed people really staring at us. In Chau Doc people would recognize us, grab their kids hands and force them to wave to us and say hi. I think the kids were just an excuse for the adults (always men) to wave to us. But it was sweet and they were friendly so we always returned big smiles and waves to them. It's good to finally be noticed for my good looks.
We went to dinner with the gang and Marv ate this whole fish. Afterwards we called it a night, as Marv didn't sleep much during our 3 installments of rest last "night" and I need to rest up for a big day tomorrow - motor biking to a waterfall! Also, another night train. Those rarely end well.