Livitrans (upper) sleeper, first class
10.26.2009 - 11.19.2009 90 °F
Time to leave Hanoi, and Diep promised to collect me in front of the Cathedral at 17:45, but instead, his right hand man came on motorbike. Diep knows how I hate to ride as a passenger on a Vietnamese motorbike, but it was then too late to argue, and I prayed for success. To make matters worse, it was rush hour, and streets were packed. If you've never ridden as the #2 man on a Honda scooter with a good size backpack + shoulder bag + small bag of tangerines in hellish traffic on the streets of Hanoi, you've been blessed. I was taken to another hotel where we were to meet up with a Canadian/Vietnamese couple (Montreal) who would be my compartment mates on the train. We went by Mai Linh cab to the Ga, and it did work out well, and the company was much appreciated. We shared the 4-berth compartment with a Japanese guy from Nagoya, and his English was rather good - a very interesting group all the way to Hue (the Japanese guy was headed for Danang, and Hoi An.) They had the AC blasting away on the train, and it's possible it might have worsened my cold (had to keep under the covers most of the night).
Arrived in Hue a little early (about 07:50), and I thought the Canadians were sharing a cab with me to a hotel (I waited and waited outside in the sun - bad move!) They never did show up, but I got a pretty bad sunstroke, and the water works started again. Guess my guard was down, because I accepted a ride with a non Mai Linh cabbie, and we all know how that turned out (that's right, taxi scam # who know's ?). I asked for the Amigo Hotel, but I was delivered to the Century Star instead, and I was not a happy traveler. I more or less threw 40,000VND at the driver, and started on my way. I didn't find the Amigo immediately, but since I knew Hue quite well the second time around, I headed for the main street, and checked into the Binh Minh Sunrise (I stayed at their sister hotel last year). For $25. I got a great room on the 4th floor complete with oversize teddy bear on the bed.
I hear it might cool down tomorrow (must be at least 90 now, and the place is very muggy), and that's fine with me. I catch the state train to Nha Trang at 01:07 Saturday. This time I'm in a lower berth, soft sleeper 2nd class. I've never slept on the regular state train B4 (how bad can it be?) It's dinner time, so guess I'll go a-hunting.