Are we there yet? Vietnam. Night of 26.12.18 On night train heading South. Trying hard not to disturb my fellow travellers in their enviable easy access lower bunks. I’m sure we are meant to have one lower one but not prepared to fight it out. So after clambering up – no ladder, i am perched on my very high, how will I ever get down?, top bunk.
I’ve got fully charged up technology because I checked into a £5 a bed hostel by the train station to take a shower and charge up my modem and phone. Don’t need bed but good backstop if train cancelled/delayed. I’m in charge of alarm setting and google maps as Mr P has no charge to phone. But am confused and alarmed as to why we seem to have gone past our destination until M takes phone and wiggles it and points out I have it all upside down. But it is 5am so I’m going to be kind to myself and not tell myself I am a complete *******. Have had the best night’s sleep ever ironically.
Much to bemusement of my backpacker encounterees – they in cut offs and skimpy tops if female, I’ve been carrying, and sometimes wearing for ease my charity shop Burberry trench look alike. They don’t know I’ve come from sometimes rainy and cold HK and have stuff to carry around that has to do for three months and a variety of climates. They just wonder why a strange Asian woman is wearing a Burberry lookalike raincoat in baking heat. But sometimes wearing it is the only way , when you have to keep moving piles of stuff between all the different transport links. And there have been so many in our Hanoi to Halong Bay to Cat Ba to here journey. But when we arrive at our destination it’s pissing down with rain. Yay, for once in my life I’m appropriately attired.
But the coat came into its own last night. Coupled with my silk sleeping bag liner that comes with me everywhere it kept me cosy in this very cool air conditioned cabin.
During my 2 hour quick hostel check in, (M went off to get beer and chat to fellow travellers, regretted the beer when stuck on top bunk in middle of night, but that’s another very funny, possibly non bloggable story) I sat in a low hammock in the family’s kitchen and remembered seeing a very similar scene of family food prep in Mongolia. And remembered same scenario in my own kitchen when my children were small. Big brother skate boards in. The little girl and brother given food prep tasks by Mum. Fight breaks out. Small girl wails Muuuummmmyy, exactly like my daughter Lucy used to. Boy gets a telling off. I chat to the Mum briefly. She’s cooking a dish for some of the backpackers – it’s a restaurant as well as hostel. She tells me how tired she is. All the same worries and concerns we have/had. Money, (the family have recently set up the hostel, it’s good and I think it will succeed, even at a fiver a night, Vietnam accommodation so cheap compared with Hong Kong). Family worries. Are the kids normal? All the sibling rivalry, do all kids fight like this? I try to reassure her – same the world over I say. She gives the kids pre dinner ice creams to stop the fighting. Same the world over indeed.