Day 13

Sore head. Probably not as bad as it could have been, but I was definitely hungover. Thankfully, today was a free day, so I didn’t have to do too much. After taking a lot of rehydration salts and water, and after a greasy breakfast, I went out to run a few errands. This little ritual is reasonably similar to my usual hangover cure, whereas I would normally have a powerade and fish’n’chips (and of course a shower!).

After collecting some bathroom supplies, I moved our bags across the hall to our the day room, as we would not be staying another night here. This room was already occupied by two of the Swiss girls, the other one having gone out for a day at the mud baths with my own travelling companions. They left shortly after to run their own errands. Since by this time I was rather hot and sweaty from being outside, I pulled up a chair and turned down the relatively ineffective air conditioning to chill out for a while.

Unfortunately I still had some errands to run, so I went out and got all that over and done with. Coming back to the hotel I found the girls had returned to the room. We all spent some time reading, but it easing long before all of us were napping - we’d all been out late the night before, after all!

Waking up again, a plan was formed to go to the beach, but not before lunch was obtained. I cannot recommend it, but we had lunch at the Seafood and Western Food Restaurant. This would be the second time I’d eat some kind of Western food by choice while on this trip. I had a chicken burger, and all of our meals came out very slowly, and one after the other. By the time the first person finished their meal, the next persons meal was just coming out. Plus the burger bun was rock hard, despite it not being gluten free.

After paying the bill, we crossed the road to the beach. We paid to sit under a breach umbrella (40,000 doing per person, or roughly $2 each), and I watched the bags while the rest went for a swim. I could have spent this time catching up on writing, but instead I relaxed and read for a while in the shade.

It was not long before the mud-bathers returned and joined us, but it was also being late. Another hour on the beach and it was time to get back to the hotel and get ready to go. Tonight we were getting on yet another train, once again an overnighter, to Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon. Knowing we weren’t going to get dinner on the train, we changed out of our beach clothes and into something more city-friendly and headed out to dinner. Since my partner hadn’t gone out for dinner the night we arrived, we took her back to that restaurant (Lanterns), since the food had been rather good.

To my dismay, my two travelling companions both ordered fish and chips! Unfortunately instead of trying something new I went for the Simmering Pork, which I knew to be good from last time. Even though we had told some people where we’d be, nobody joined us, and we heard later that they’d actually gotten a little lost trying to find us, which I think is forgivable.

We had a while to wait at the train station. The train was marginally late, which was just as well, as our tour guide’s clothes had still not come back from the laundry. While he went off to get his clothes, we were left a little confused each time we heard an announcement from the station, as none of it was in English. Was it our train arriving, or not?

Thankfully we all got onto the train alright, though not before a bit of confusion over which rooms would be occupied by whom. It was still early in the night, and our guide was still hungry after an unsatisfying dinner if his own, so a few of us joined him on an excursion to the restaurant carriage at the back of the train.

Boy am I glad I didn’t eat train food. The carriage was a little worse for wear, and the off-duty cooks were smoking inside. Our guide still ordered some food - I suppose it is pretty hard to mess up instant noodles. We were really only there to socialise, so we had the token beer or water while he ate.

Since we had an estimated 4:30am departure time, we headed back for an early night’s sleep. Unfortunately sleep did not come easy, and it did not come well. I was restless, and knew this would not fair overly well for the next day…