Trains, Planes and Automobiles

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January 24th 2008
Published: January 25th 2008
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Trains, Planes and Automobiles

….and cyclos, motorbikes, bicycles, walking, boats, ships, buses, I have used about every means of transportation in Vietnam. I have even used those big beat up looking old buses with carts of pigs, bicycles etc on top. They are the cheapest and in my opinion not bad at all. I rode one from Ha 'Tien to Can tho for 53000 dong, about $3.30 cents.
This was my first experience on a train in Vietnam. The trip from Saigon to Hanoi is billed as three days and two nights but actually you leave late in the evening, spend two nights on the train and arrive in Hanoi early the third day. It is more like two nights and one day. It cost me 65 dollars for the trip. I guess I could have bought an airplane ticket for 80 dollars an arrived in a few hours but I wanted the train experience. Plus, I had too much luggage for an airplane.
Anyway, I thought the trip was worth it for the beautiful scenery view from the train and especially going over the Hai Van Pass between Danang and Hue. Here I think I could look down at
All aboard!!!! All aboard!!!! All aboard!!!!

I said: All aboard!!!!
the leper village at the base of the mountain that I will visit in March.
This railroad was built by the French while they were in charge here and it remains one of the monuments to their legacy here.
One interesting part of the trip was when we got to Danang we had a rest stop and when we got going again it was backwards. We thought we were going back to Saigon but what they were doing was going up the mountain backwards. Then we had another stop and started going the other way. I guess from this little maneuver they got away from building some sharp turns. Anyway, it was an interesting ride over and through that mountain.
The first day I missed breakfast because I was in the bathroom. It didn’t matter though as I had been stuffed by the Nguyen family for a week. You have to buy your meals on the train and they are not too bad but not too good. Like everywhere, on a deal like a train, a little overpriced. Every now and then the train would stop to let another train pass or sometimes you could get off the train and shop the vendors sit up to service the train passengers.
I got to my hotel at 6 AM and had to bang on the door to get them to open up. It is nice to be back in Hanoi. Although, Hanoi is uncomfortably cold this time of the year. No heat in my room so I go to bed early. I have already had three Vietnamese classes.
Every now and then I think about going home early. I asked Linda if she wants me to come home early. She said stay in Vietnam and finish your projects. People wonder what she is doing while I am gone. She and her sisters are remodeling their brother’s house. She is bankrolling the whole deal. Hope she gets her money back.
He died a little over a year ago of blatter cancer. Might have been Agent Orange. He was a Vietnam Veteran. We were in Vietnam the same time only never made contact with each other.

Note: One of my blogs has been picked up by the "International Family Magazine." The story "Loannie" will be published in the February issue: You may read the issue online by going to: and subscribing free for an online issue.
I am particulary happy they selected this story because it is about Loannie, one of the great college kids I have met here and she, Duc and others have been very helpful to me. They will make a difference in this world.

Additional photos below
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Secluded beach.Secluded beach.
Secluded beach.

Vietnam is beach poor. Still lots of unspoiled beach areas.

From across the bay

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