Trip Start Apr 04, 2008
15Trip End Mar 31, 2009
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
The soft sleeper overnight narrow guage train from Lao Cai to Hanoi was air conditioned, comfortable, and quiet. The hard sleeper (China does not know what "hard sleeper" really means--they sleep on pads!) overnight narrow guage train from Quy Nhon to Danang was hot, uncomfortable, and 105 decibles. With windows wide open and noise reflected from embankments or bridges or buildings or walls into our compartment, it sounded like a superkinetic surf with the volume turned all the way up, the noise not just seeping into your dreams, but smothering them in an ocean of sound, so that when you woke up stiff with a crink in your neck, you thought, has that noise been going on all night?
The cities I'll be visiting over the next six weeks can be succinctly summed up as follows:
Hanoi is shoe boxes on end and lots of old trees and lakes.
Saigon is street food every fifty feet and motor scooters every fifty millimeters.
Muine is fifty beach resorts one after another on a thin white sand beach with a one-horse fishing village at the end of it.
Phan Thiet, just up the road from Muine, is a two-horse fishing town with a couple of Cham Towers.
Nha Trang is a growing tourist beach town.
Buon Me Thuot in the Central Highlands has streets laid out on a grid, unlike the mazes of other cities.
Quy Nhon as a beach town, or just a town, is Nha Trang's poorer cousin, but it's time will come.
Da Nang is a city with most of the services of Saigon, but not nearly the splash.
Hoi An is a small town in a cultural time warp of past dreams still present.