277 Late Train, Shared Quarters

410-the-late-trainAnother overnight train but this one turns out to be an early morning train. The kindly staff at CenDeluxe ***** Hotel allowed us to stay in our room until 6:00 PM. After a nice dinner we took up residence in the lobby. We were both tired and sleepy by 9:30 PM when we had a taxi take us to the Train Station.

The station was empty then a guy drifted in. In broken English he informed us that the train was running an hour late. The locals all seemed to know as a few finally showed up until 11:00 PM. Then an announcement from some mysterious place and our pal told us that it was now going to be 3 hours late. This went on until 4:00 AM. At last, we were looking forward to the privacy of our sleeper car. Surprise, there are 4 bunks in the compartment and 2 were already taken. The older guy on the bottom slept a lot, the girl above knitted, neither spoke English.

Okay, that did add to the discomfort but we adjusted, made up our own bunks and slept fitfully. No breakfast but I did have a cup of Vietnamese coffee. (Thick coffee with evaporated milk and sugar.) Later I weren’t for food. At first they told us that we didn’t order food. A young guy who spoke great English helped and voila, we had some chicken, veggies and rice. He told me that his father had worked for the US during the war and was sent to re-education, then he found it tough to get a job. Also, he told me that children of those who worked for the enemy couldn’t go to college. However there have been several reforms. His dad now has a good job and he’s at University studying languages.

Another very nice older guy grabbed my hand as I came down the aisle. Nearing Tam Ky, our destination, we stood between cars and talked. He also worked for the US and was incarcerated for more than a year. He has a sister and brother-in-law in Houston. He hasn’t seen them and doesn’t know how to reach them as his wife burned all their letters and pictures, in fear, after the fall of Saigon.