Day 5

Some people love waking up on boats. When the water is calm, there’s no noise outside, it’s beautiful. However when there was a party boat up late the night before, there’s very much a desire to sleep in… our get payback. Unfortunately we got neither (though that would make a great story!)

The crew served us breakfast, a more normal jam or eggs on toast, compared to the array of seafood we were served the day before. After packing and clearing the tables, we were then treated to a display of how to make an ornamental net out of carrot and a lotus carved from watermelon.

Shortly after disembarking, I thought it best to top up my wallet. As some have said before me, there’s just something about withdrawing a few million from an ATM! From there, we got in the bus back to Hanoi.

Along the way we stopped at a community art centre, where we got to see plenty of lacre paintings, and also some fine embroidery art (it’s a thing) in the making. There were also stone carvings around, but unfortunately the only things we could actually afford there were the token souvenirs (postcards, books, confectionary) and the cafe food. This was our lunch stop.

Back in Hanoi, I found myself starting to recognise some areas, I knew when we passed Blue Dragon again, and I knew when we needed to make a turn into the city area off the motorway, when I realised that it hotel was near by. Great lit of use this would be to me, this was our last day in Hanoi!

The afternoon was mostly free time. We showered get rid of that salty-stickiness from being on a boat, and we gathered some supplies for the next night, namely a whole lot of water… and handkerchief tissues. I also went for a walk around the block to see what around, and found a coffee shop. I didn’t but anything though, afraid of the endless amount of crap I’d get from the girls. (The think I have have a coffee problem. I think they just have a problem with coffee.)

We ordered dinner that afternoon, which was delivered to us on the train… There’s just that something extra when you travel in Vietnam. Possibly Asia in general - they seem genuinely most passed to have you, and go the extra mile to see that you are happy. There is still a brutal efficiency at times, but otherwise there is beauty in the way they treat others.

The train departed as we began to eat or meals. Where was this train going? This was the sleeper train to Hue. Four beds to a room, eight rooms and two toilets to a carriage; this was both our mode of transport for the next 12 hours, and our place of rest.

But of course, at 7pm (when the train took off) you can’t just go to sleep. Our tour guide had this sorted - wine!

What our tour guide calls wine, we generally call by another name: Vodka. Unlike vodka from home however, this was if a lower alcohol volume (a meager 33%). While we were mixing with lemonade, I’m certain that the second drink I was given could be considered a “double double double”. We played a game or two, had an introduction to some Vietnamese music (to the tune of “Love Potion Number 9”) and retired to our rooms. We made a short attempt at paying poker with three players, but with some confusion over the rules (and so few players), we called it a night.