13 English, 3 Irish, 1 Czech and 1 Australian, take an overnight ‘sleeper’ train from Hanoi to Hue

I don’t normally blog in a ‘blogging’ sense but I would like to share this.

The story begins in Hanoi, Vietnam when our tour group of 19,  boarded the local overnight train to our next destination, Hue:

Now the English so far seem to be a pretty good bunch, generally, but:


There’s Mr ‘colostrum bag’ who just wants to tell you every detail of the workings of this when he talks to you (even when you’re trying to eat your lunch), and his lovely wife.

Mr ‘Did you know I have a hearing aid?’ ahh, yes, because it never ceases its high pitched ringing.

Miss ‘my face might crack if I smile’ but seems rather nice once you get her talking.

Mr ‘I think I’ve a chance with you’ is a rather ‘well upholstered’, jovial, caring, fun person liked by everyone.

‘Miss happy’, a lovely, easy going lady of a similar age, but doesn’t seem to be capable of conversation when she’s tipsy, just grins like a Cheshire cat. When she does speak, she has a wonderful northern ‘Geordie’ accent.

A young couple, whom we always think they are not with us, as they are so quiet and hardly talk to any of the group.

And the lovely ‘oh so typical English lady’, who’s always happy and is not bad for a Pommy lady.

The Irish:-

The happy Irish couple who are great fun, love a chat, laugh and beer, as do most Irish, but the elderly Irish man, well:-

Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’ (just why does hair grow out of the nose on old men?) who is grossly overweight, not keen on showering and by the smell, doesn’t use deodorant (not making him very popular). His strong Irish accent, makes him totally incomprehensible and has an awful habit of slopping food everywhere and removing his false teeth mid meal and shaking them under the table. He’s seems to be on (and possibly from) another planet and never listens to what our guide is telling us, resulting in him then questioning someone in the group as to what is going on, but really, he just wants to know what time breakfast is in the morning. (more on him later)

The Czech lady:

Miss ‘Czech lady whom I’m so jealous of’, with her being a real photographer and has all the best camera equipment. She is lovely and we have a natural bond due to our love of photography and both being single.

This is not all of the group, but as the tour has just commenced, I cannot comment on all of them just yet (but give me a few more days).

So, back to the ‘sleeper’ train. 4 beds (2 bunks) in a tiny cabin.

Our guide had done a very strange ‘number’ draw for whom will share with whom. Now, I didn’t even get a number, but guess who lucky me got to share with? Yep. Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’ and Mr ‘Did you know I have a hearing aid? (plus Miss ‘Czech lady whom I’m so jealous of’).

Now, as I actually, for the first time on a tour, paid the ‘single supplement’, so as not to share with anymore strange people (and there has been a few), was not impressed.

Our tour guide (oh, forgot to mention him, didn’t I), lovely Vietnamese man, married, 2 kids, who informed us that on these tours he is ‘single’, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. So I used this to my advantage and managed to swap Mr ‘Did you know I have a hearing aid?’ for himself, but was still stuck with  Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’.

So, as the evening progresses, Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’, Miss ‘Czech lady whom I’m so jealous of’ and tour guide, all go to bed early. Not me, party girl that I am.

Found the ‘fun’ cabin with the alcohol and music. So lots of singing, laughing, talking with Irish couple, Miss ‘happy’ (except, Miss ‘happy’ just sat, smiled, drank lots and rocked to the music), Mr ‘I think I’ve got a chance with you, and Miss ‘oh so typical English lady’.

After several telling offs by the train guards for the noise, and not being able to obtain any more alcohol (partly due to this), it was off to my incy wincy cabin.

Well, see if you can picture this:

Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’, naked, lying on the ‘bottom’ bunk, on his side, snoring, hairy, smelly, with his bloated gross stomach and other disgusting body parts (yep, those dangly bits) hanging over the edge of the bed. Well, I didn’t know whether to laugh, scream or faint. I think I went into shock and did a double take. Had I drunk so much I was imagining things?

Now, I too was on the bottom bunk and the thought of laying almost next to that?? Nup, couldn’t do it. So I went scurrying back to the ‘fun’ cabin, panic stricken and still in a frenzied shock mode.

Naturally, all wanted to see, so it was sneaking up to my cabin and peaking in…and much giggling and gasping.
I mean, really, who shares a cabin with 3 almost strangers and sleeps naked? And Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’ is sharing with 2 women. What the?

What to do? Well, we decided the best course of action was to wake our poor tour guide to tell/show him and ask his advice. But he hasn’t come across this problem on any of his previous tours has he? So he wakes Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’, and asks him to put some clothes on. Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’ reaction? “Oh, I sleep like this at home”. Well you’re not at home now, so cover up buddy!!!

Me, still traumatized by what will be an “everlasting, horrific” imprint in my mind, still is concerned for my mental wellbeing. Nice tour guide tells me to sleep up on top in his bunk, so as to not be ‘face to face’ with Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’.

Well, this did help the situation a little, but every time Mr ‘OMG! Did you see the tufts of nose hair’ snuffled/snored (I should have recorded the sound – kind of phlegmy racking cough, cough sound, followed by a rapid spoken…..bub, bub, bub, bub, noise) I found myself laughing almost hysterically like an insane, drunk woman (which I was after the evening I had had).

Only solution, ear plugs (didn’t help much) and a sleeping tablet.

So we arrived at Hue the next morning.

Photo’s of Hanoi:1-Street life in Hanoi 2-A different take on a barber shop 3-A 'drive through' healthy food stall 4-Ceramic Mosaic Mural along the wall of the dyke system-Over 20 Vietnamese, 15 foreign artists, 100 craftsmen and 500 children collaborated on the project 5-Laundry-Vietanmese style 6-A society where it is quite normal for women to do the heavy lifting 7-Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex 8-Presidential Palace - French Colonial architecture 9-Raining in the Botanical gardens of the Presidential Palace 10-The One Pillar Pagoda is a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi 11-Bach Ma Temple-one of many temples in Vietnam 12-Graduation day for the students - 13-Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son 14-A quiet spot to sit and enjoy the view over the lake to Ngoc Son Temple 14-Lotus Water Puppets popular tourist attraction 15-The Water Puppets in Hanoi 16-A friendly Vietnamese lady having a break from walking the streets in Hanoi 17-A typical street of Hanoi 18-Hats - great for keeping the sun and rain off 19-Vietnamese women walk the streets sellling food all day long, there shoulders bruised from carrying heavy loads 20-Living and working on the streets in the Old Quarter in Haoi 21-Fresh produce can be bought almost anywhere on the streets 22-Food preparation in the Old Quarter in Hanoi 23-A market stall in the Old quarter 24-The Asian Conical hat is commonly worn by people and is excellent protection from both the sun and rain 25-Who needs a car when you can carry this much on a bike

26-I'm amazed how they can text, smoke or talk on the phone and not get killed on the chaotic roads in VietnamPhoto’s of Hue:

1-Houses in Vietnam are very narrow as they are taxed on the width of the frontage 5-At the markets in Hue 4-Afternoon siesta 3-You want soup-local roadside vender. It actually looked and smelled quite delicious 2-They smoke, talk on the phones, text whilst riding their bikes 2a-No unemployment in Vietnam and no pension either I don't think as all the elderly work as well 10-Vietnam is not a rich country and the locals sometimes have to resort to anything they can do to survive-a resourceful race 9-Boats are a normal form of transport in Vietnam 8-A common sight in Vietnam, but quite tricky to get a photo of as they don't like to be photographed 7-Happy girls working at the market 6-An old Vietnamese woman, still working hard 15-Thien Mu Pagoda 14-Thien Mu Pagoda on the Perfume River in Hue 13-Mr Phan Cu, local photographer proudly showing us his equipment which he stores under his seat of his motorbike 12-Famous local photographer 'Phan Cu' also runs a great restaurant in Hue. This was a highlight of my trip - delicious cheap food, beautiful photo's and to meet him 11-Nice place to sit and relax after visiting the chaotic markets 20-Inside the Imperial Citadel in Hue 19-The imperial closure 18-The bridge over the moat to the Imperial closure 17-Young monk living at the Pagoda on the Perfume River in Hue 16-Trainee monk at the Pagoda 25-The tomb of Tu Duc - Nguyen Dynasty 24-The beautiful architecture of the outlying tombs at Hue 23-Built in the early 1800's by the Nguyen dynasty 22-Some of the beautiful buildings fortunately survived the Tet Offensive in 1968 whilst others were destroyed 21-Old gate of The imperial closure 28-Colourful incense sticks for sale at the markets near the Royal Tombs 27-Beautiful Vietnamese girl making the Conical hats in the local market 26-Monks who live at the tomb of Tu DucNote: All opinions are my own:

Names have been changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent:

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