There is just something about trains that I love. Maybe it’s a bit of a novelty as it wasn’t until I was an adult that I lived somewhere there was a train. There used to be a passenger train on Vancouver Island in Canada; it went from Victoria, BC north to a small community called Cumberland. So it didn’t make it to the town I grew up in, ended about forty five minutes away. When I moved to Victoria for university, I took the train (almost) home once. I remember it went over a long and high tressel. It stopped in the middle of a rickety old wooden tressel. It appear we were in the middle of the air, with only Douglas fir trees miles below us! And no doubt a river in the valley. Gulp! Because we stopped, I wondered if something was wrong. It was the middle of winter (the one place in Canada we don’t get snow, but it was snowing that day!), so I was thrilled by the view, if a little concerned. Turns out the train did that every time so passengers can see the view and take photos. Anyways, since that trip I have always loved trains.
There is something about going through towns on a train. You whip by, hear the whistle, and get a glimpse into the backs of buildings. You see people’s laundry, gardens…. And sometimes their garbage.
As I hadn’t taken any trains while living in Thailand (lots in Japan, though!), I was excited to take the train in Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh city to Nha Trang. I was particular about my seat. It was a “soft” seat (not a berth as it was daytime travel), air conditioned, and facing the direction of travel.
It was a gamble as many Vietnamese had warned me that train travel can be sketchy, but it paid off. I had a nice seat, hooks above me, electrical plug in. And the food trolley came by a lot. First there was corn on the cob and wiener sausages. Then drinks and snacks. Then about half an hour later, a cart with rice, chicken and a soup cart following for a set meal. Then the drinks and snacks cart. I was impressed with the rice and chicken cart as the meal was hot and fresh and served on real plates. It came with disposable chopsticks and utensils but the real plates were later collected for reuse. Nice!
The car also had Rail TV and showed the movie Brave and Cinderella. Plus a Vietnamese comedy show.
Overall, that first train trip was a success! The next one was an overnighter. And not quite as much of a winner. But I’ll save that for another time.