Day 04 (part 2)
25.03.2009 - 25.03.2009
After lunch, we waited till 12:45 p.m. to start our journey back to Hanoi. Another long ride back, with 30 minutes break at another souvenir shop. Finally reached Hanoi at 4:15 p.m. I asked to be dropped near the lake. Being cold and hungry, I quickly entered a shop and had some pho. Did I mention it is raining now? Due to the rain, most street-side stalls are closed and those that are still opened, are packed. Pho in shop is more expensive than those on the street, and no much tastier, I feel.
The rain has been reduced to a very slight drizzle, so I walked down the streets. Was hoping to find a bookstore that sells English books. But no! The stores that I come across sell only Vietnamese books, so I didn't manage to get any books.
Along the way I passed by many electronic shops, so I popped into a few to ask about the price of a 2GB SD card, as I only have 1GB and I don't think it will be enough. Well, actually I have a 4GB card, courtesy of Mr. Loke, but my camera is not sophisticated enough to recognise it. Anyway the price is just incredibly expensive, ranging from 320k Dong to double that price. Of course I did not buy any. Would be out of my mind to pay that much.
My train tonight is 11 p.m. It's only 5 p.m.+ now. And the drizzle has become a shower. And I couldn't find a bookshop. What should I do to kill time? I don't want to keep walking under the rain! Then I saw a five-storey building, with a "City View Restaurant" situated atop. I decided to go up and get a city view from the balcony seat. Ordered a cup of coffee and had some spring rolls.
Made my way to the hotel after the rain stopped to get my luggage. And started walking towards the train station. I got lost! I was able to reach the train station on Sunday by walking on the railway tracks, but today I cannot as I have to pull along my luggage. The train station is located outside the scope of my map and I just lost my way. Eventually, somehow, I managed to reach the station. Good thing I wasn't in a rush! It's not even 8 p.m. yet, there are still many hours to go.
I went to the stall where I bought mineral water from on Sunday. Took a bottle and passed on 10k Dong. The lady said: "No", and showed me 15k Dong. I bought the same thing at the same place just 3 days ago at 10k Dong and now suddenly it's 50% more expensive. Obviously trying to lighten my wallet, I just put the bottle back, went to another stall, and got the same thing at 10k Dong.
Seems boring to just sit here and wait, so dragged my luggage out for a walk. Passed by an internet cafe, so went online to check some mail and register this travel blog. All for a very reasonable price of 3k Dong per hour. That is like 60 sen? And the internet speed there is surprisingly GOOD. Better than Streamyx I must say.
Went back to railway station after my internet session, and waited for the train. Feeling hungry, so went to Lotteria Hamburger next door for a chicken burger. Not really FAST food, because I waited quite a while for the burger. I think their burgers are made to order. And when they say chicken burger, it is really a whole piece of chicken rather than the usual chicken patty. All the while I thought this Lotteria Hamburger is a local brand, until someone told me it's from Korea. And just in case you are interested in knowing, there is NO McDonald's in Vietnam.
Boarded the train at around 10:30 p.m. The bed itself is alright, but the height is so low! I can't even sit upright without bending down. I hope I can get a 4-berth compartment when I travel from Nha Trang to Saigon. The compartment I was in were all Vietnamese. An old lady was occupying the berth in level two. But she had difficulties moving down, so her family asked if I can switch berths with her, and they refunded me 45k Dong for the difference. I don't know whether that is the actual price difference or not, but it doesn't matter much. Doing good makes people feel good. Since I have difficulties sitting up, I better lie down and sleep.
Not for claustrophobics!