It was a rather slow day as they go, the highlight being us reaching Danang. It started like any other day, scratch that, no it didn’t. I had to be out of bed and at reception early to sort out our train. I woke up around 7am hoping they’d be ready for me. When I got there I was told they couldn’t sort it out until gone 8,” why cruel world? Why!!!?” Were the cries I let out as I made my way back to bed for all of another hour. When it came time for me to visit them again I was greeted outside the elevator by one of the female staff. She had with her two tickets for 10:50am. With that, I returned to the room to tell Sarah the good news. We packed our bags and had breakfast, before checking out and catching a taxi to the train station. It took a while waiting for the train to arrive, which wasn’t so bad as Sarah enjoyed watching the young Vietnamese children running around playing. The train showed up 40 minutes late, as we made our way to the carriage we were quickly made aware of the lack of organisation when it comes to boarding. It’s basically a push ‘n’ shove until every last person is on. If you snooze you lose basically.
Sarah went on ahead as I struggled with my bag, which is too wide to wear in the narrow corridors of a Vietnamese train carriage apparently. For the first time since being in Vietnam I had the luxury of a seat with a lot of legroom. The journey was roughly an hour and forty five minutes. During the trip we passed some beautiful, and terrifying sites. To the right of our carriage were fog covered mountains, and to the left, steep drops with the occasional passing ocean. We were somewhat distracted from the views as we spent the majority of the ride watching tv shows, besides, most of the Asian passengers would close the curtains in order to sleep. We were so engrossed in our dramas that we didn’t know when our stop was. I collared an official who told us we had another hour or so before Da Nang. With that we went back to watching the Mentalist, while Sarah continued to be crushed by the seat of the uncaring woman in front. Eventually a five minute warning was called, to which we stood up and got ourselves ready to depart.
Outside the train station we were welcomed like celebrities, once again, by all of our adoring….. Taxi drivers. One was particularly keen to take us, luckily we heard him say Hoi An, otherwise we’d have been heading in the wrong direction altogether. When we told him where we wanted to go (which was local, unlike the 45 minute drive he wanted to take us on) he was quick to say “ok,ok,ok, 150,000 don.,” Needless to say we swiftly walked away. The next one to step up was another keen fellow who only wanted to charge 30,000 each. However, he was part of the easy rider service which was an organisation that drove motorbikes. The price seemed good enough, we were going to take it, until he got a friend involved so the pair could take us separately. Due to being conned before by overly friendly people I told Sarah I wasn’t happy about going with those guys, and instead showed one last taxi driver where we wanted to go. He was a younger guy who wasn’t as conniving as the other older guys. He said he’d take us for a small cost of 70,000, before one of the older guys came over and suggested we pay him 100,000 instead.
The joke was on them, as when we were in and the doors were closed Sarah asked the driver to put the meter on because it only charged 10,000 dong every point eight of a kilometre. At our hotel the meter read 56,000 dong, meaning the guys on the bikes were probably quite genuine. They predicted it would come to that much, and warned us the taxi drivers would try and charge more. When we got inside the hotel, for once, we didn’t need to sleep. We handed over our passports and received our room key, we were then guided to our room by an employee. We dropped our bags off and returned to reception to find out what was in the area. The lady didn’t have any maps behind the counter so she sent an employee out to fetch us one. Within 10 minutes the guy was back. Sarah used this time to finally go on Facebook, as for some unknown reason it didn’t work in Hue. The lady showed us a few places down town to eat, but suggested we hired scooters because it would be quicker. We were well rested and felt as though walking wouldn’t be an issue, she told us it was only a 10 to 15 minute walk. It turned out to be more like half an hour.
We visited the Italian restaurant suggested to us by the lady at our hotel. I still didn’t feel satisfied by my pizza, and swore to myself there and then that I’d give up the search for the illusive tasty dish. It’s annoying, in a country that cooks dog you’d have thought a pizza wouldn’t be too big an ask. After all, it doesn’t get much simpler than dough, tomato and cheese does it? We went online during lunch and found there were several cinemas in the nearby vicinity. With that we settled the bill and began exploring. We only got to the end of the road before it started raining. Sarah suddenly took a turn for the worse, claiming she felt dizzy. We decided to put off the cinema for another day and returned to our hotel instead. We spent the best part of the late afternoon/ early evening in our room watching tv, old habits and all that. We reared our heads around 8pm and decided to visit a little coffee shop Sarah spotted earlier that day.
However, when we reached the building they only sold drinks, and we wanted food. We felt bad when we got up to leave because the staff gave us a complimentary free drink. It was probably tea but it came in a clear glass, was luke warm and was a yellowish colour. As you can probably guess, my imagination got the better of me. We saw a restaurant across the street so decided to check it out. I wish we hadn’t, as the only thing that looked appetising was their plate of fried rice, this was partly due to the literal translations in their menu such as fried inside of chicken. When we nearly finished our meals Sarah witnessed a rat run across the floor, when she mentioned it to a nearby member of staff the lady simply smiled and nodded, you’ve gotta love the language barrier. After we paid for the worst meal in a while, including Sarah’s medicine tasting drink, we returned to the hotel. We asked the lady about any day trips they offered. Being handed a brochure, we took it back to the room and contemplated what we could get up to in our new, rainy little paradise!