Nightmare on the Night Train

The Road to Hue pt. 2

The second part to getting to Hue involved our beloved night train. If you remember, at this point, we’ve taken the night train a few times. And they have 4 bunks in each cabin. Our first bunkmates were a lovely couple from the Czech Republic on their honeymoon – best bunkmates yet. Our second bunkmates were two French guys from Sapa back to Hanoi. They were fine; they came into the bunk (a little muddy from trekking I assume), hopped up to their beds and switched off the lights. Fine. However that is where our luck ran out. From Ninh Binh, we had a 10 hour overnight ride to Hue and as we entered into our bunk, it was a straight shot: downhill.

We entered the bunk to darkness (it was 10pm) and a middle aged couple snuggled into their bunks. As we shimmyed into the bunk to get ourselves situated, the woman, on the bottom bunk, says, “Oh, here’s your pillow” in the most raspy, phlegm-y voice EVER. This woman had been using my pillow… Great start. Thank the Lord I had my silk sheet to prevent catching anything from this woman. Then, over the next 10 hours, we endured the worst: snoring, coughing and I’m not talking about just any coughing, I’m talking coughing-up-a-lung-mucus-filled kind of coughing. Did I mention how small these bunks are? It was so horrible. I literally had my face in the wall in an attempt to get as far away from her as possible – which probably totaled 3 feet. Combine the coughing with a double dose of snoring and you’ve got the worst night train ride to Hue.

And how was Hue you ask? Still cold. Still wet. Still cloudy. Still miserable. We stayed for 1 night and went to the Royal Palace and had dinner twice at this darling French restaurant, La Carambole – the only saving grace of Hue. While at the Royal Palace, Yemi had the great idea to take a poor mans version of a Tuk Tuk around the palace. Against my better judgement I agreed but then quickly noticed not one other person was using the same mode of transportation. It was at this moment that we realized we had been played. While the drivers had promised to take us around the Royal Palace, they instead took us everywhere BUT on some sort of makeshift hourlong tour.

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