Dec 8, 2006
OK, I know it's going to sound lame, particularly since I am throwing out far too many superlatives but... the train trip was awesome! It all started the moment the taxi driver dropped us off at the Saigon Railway Station. We went into the main station area and dropped all the bags whereupon Evan and I went in search of a Pho Adventure. Here's a photo looking across from the main entrance towards "Pho-Row" at least that's what I'm calling it.
Evan was having a blast, checking out all the strange and wonderful things. He even got to poke his nose around the Pho Surgical Area, not too pretty but effective for sure. You can see the take-out bowls getting put together on the counter, cost per bowl was 10,000 Dong.
Here are the two friendly baguette and coffee ladies that helped to get us on our way with an iced coffee with LOTS of condensed milk and sugar (impossibly bad coffee requires condensed milk) and the cheesy cheese spread sandwich.
Six minutes till the train leaves and I got this fantastic light streaming down the main track area. Finally on our way the boys are checking out the pamphlet handouts, I didn't see any Bob the Builder in there. ;-)
The boys got to do some serious family time with their newly adopted and very large (entire train) Vietnamese family. We were the only tourists on the train and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The only regret is we didn't bring enough to share with everyone else, it seemed like there was a non-stop supply of treats and such always within arms reach of the boys. They made out like bank robbers.
In order to survive the coffee-nasties I used the portable grinder to get some Malawi Mapanga Estate AA+ into the Aeropress. I had roasted it back home nearly a week ago but it was still heavenly. As you can see in the other photo, Evan had pretty much made himself at home by the end of the train ride.
Here's a couple of interesting photos that don't mean much unless the story is attached. Train ride going, train ride STOPS. Everybody out at Muon Man, the track is flooded from Typhoon Durian and you have to get on buses. Doreen was on a little plastic red chair near the door, we were sardined in, it was a classic - perfect! When the bus got to Phan Thiet we had to take a bus back to Mui Ne, this kind girl hopped on a phone and called a taxi for us. The taxi driver wanted 155,000 Dong, I offered 60,000 dong, we settled on 100,000 Dong. Fair enough. We pulled up to "The Beach" hotel and it was... perfect - just what we wanted. More on that to come. Doreen and the boys are tugging on my sleeve to go for lunch.