Train Ride

Australian snores
Angkor book robs James’ sleep
Lucie doesn’t stir

February 23, 2011
We took a 16 hour train ride from Hanoi down to Danang. At the first stop a group of Australian cyclists hopped on (their bikes had been shipped ahead to meet them in Danang). Two of them joined us in our cabin. They were very cheerful mates constantly making fun of how load each other snores. After a bit they went of the drink car. Much later they stumbled in, crawled into bed, and good to their word started snoring as loud as any snore I have ever heard. I was engrossed in a very bad book which I had only bought from Amazon and downloaded onto the Kindle because it was $2 and was about the ancient Angkor kingdom whose temples we plan to visit in Cambodia. Despite being an awful piece of literature I ended up reading it the whole night through, gently being serenaded by the Australians. Despite the noise Lucie managed to sleep right through it. Never did I think that I would be admiring someone else’s sleeping skills, but my wife never ceases to amaze.

Hoi An Nights

Sitting riverside
Mango ice cream slowly melts
Rainbow lights reflect

February 25th 2011
In general we were delighted by the good food in touristy Hoi An. One hot night after dinner we found an ice cream shop that was quite good, bought a few cups, and ate it on a bench by the river. On the other side of the river, the multi colored lights of restaurants and bars and various shops reflected off the still river.

Hoi An Beach

Beachseller with drool
Wounded turtle but alive
Basket Boat in waves

February 26th, 2011
We spent a good bit of the day at the white sand beaches near Hoi An. Round basket shaped boats floated by being push along by men using a large pole. We ate a very greasy lunch at a restaurant there which ended up not sitting well with me later that night. (My 2nd food poisoning in Vietnam – who would have thought?) Several times some beach sellers came up to us trying to sell us fruit, snacks, or other items. One came up to us three times was selling English language newspapers – drool was forming in bubbles by the side of his mouth.

Hoi An has a large number of disabled people, both physically and mentally, who live and work together doing arts and crafts. There are several NGO’s set up to help them out, including one by a friend of Vang’s who we met up with earlier in the day. This newspaper seller did not seem at all rabid, so we assume the drool was due to other issues. His persistence in trying to sell us one paid off – we bought a paper.

The paper has a story about a turtle that had been injured in Ho Kiem lake in Hanoi. This was the lake that we visited when we where there and knew of the legend where a giant turtle took a holy sword that had been used to drive out the Chinese invaders over 800 years ago from the hands of the famous warrior back into the lake to return it to the gods. This turtle it turns out is only one of three giant turtles of this species left, the other two being in a zoo in ironically, China. It’s age is guessed at over 200 years and the injuries it sustained were caused by other non-indigenous turtles of a smaller variety that had been released into the lake. We were assured that a vet was taking care of the larger one.