So it's been a while since my last blog update. Ps, as predicted, the bus did break down, coming to a flamboyant halt 1 hour frm out destination.
W spent 2 hours fixing (see: smashing at the engine with a wrench) it, until the bus driver and his 14 year old assistant admitted defeat and called us a new bus. Well played Gold VIP buslines.
I write a special post today on transportation in South east Asia.
Being in the middle of Asia, you would expect everything to be very Asian, which, in a sense, it is. It is also, however, being aimed more and more at its Western visitors, with all the home comforts.
I love using interesting and different methods of transport in Asia. This is more often than not because I am slack at organising it ahead of time and the get booked out, therefore I are forced to use various means of vehicles to reach my destination. However I also love it as I find that if nothing else, you are likely to get a natural cultural experience and insight into Asian Lifestyle, which can be rare unless you go a looking.
Right now I am effectively giving a young Vietnamese man the death stare as he snoozes nonchalantly.
I am in the 4th coach of a train bound for Da Nang, 12 hours from our last stop in Nha Trang. I am staring at the man because as well as snoozing, he's got a fag resting on his knee.
Before you rush to correct me "homosexual, ainsley. Geez, you can be so CRUDE!), hold on to your panties and simmer down. I was merely trying to be fancy and use a synonym for "cigarette".
I'm fairly sure he's not allowed to have his cancer candy on the train, as a guard walked by earlier and made a show of flapping his hands and wrinkling his nose in disgust as he told the kid off. The dudes response was to just laugh in the guards face, so there you go, can't argue with that, can you?
The only reason the kid is getting away with it at all is because we are in the "hard seat" compartment. The train is divided into four districts (a la 'the hunger games') district one; SUPERIOR 4 berth cabins. District two; 6th berth cabins. District three; soft seats. Distinct four; hard seats. I am in district four.
Just think of me as katniss everdeen down here. If you have the fleeting thought "I'm sure it's not that bad", think again. It IS that bad, I literally am sitting on a wooden park bench that has been bolted into a shipping freight with wheels.
At my feet there is an exhausted mother with her gorgeous 1 year old boy. They are lying on what looks like a brown sheet, after scrubbing at the floor with some old newspaper, and dutifully throwing it out of the window (horrifying school teachers and environmentalists all over nz alike!)
Adjacent to me lies her mother, who is keeping her feet to herself for the moment, but times have seen her nestling them right over the gap and up to my bum for some toasty feet warming.
Parallel to my park bench is an identical situation- minus the blogging blonde. All around me, wriggling bodies try to contort themselves into the most comfortable positions.
I say this like I hate it, which, to an extent, I do. It's hot, I needa pee but I've already visited the squat toilet that runs straight onto the track, and I'm not in eager anticipation of my next visit.
I also love it. Earlier in the evening, I was delighted by the intelligence and energy of the baby boy, of whom I am currently trying not to squash with my mammoth white woman feet, as he lays sleeping. He was equally delighted by me, and although neither of the women spoke a word of English, we all played and chatted in the odd way you do with someone foreign; a mixture of spastic mime, nervous laughter, and enthusiastic head nodding. I complimented her baby, she complimented my fluffy head pillow.
I'm a hit with the train cars resident granny. Every time she goes past- trailing a large hand rolled cigarette that smells suspiciously like a joint, she grabs my hand and pats it, before smiling in toothless mirth and shuffles on her way. Shes tried to invite me to her bench a couple times, however at the risk of getting glue ear, or some other second hand smoke disease, I've politely refused.
This is but one of the intriguing travelling experiences I have had in Asia. I'm not sure if I hope for another ride just like this anything soon- I'm not sure if my butt will survive this journey without falling off, but I'm certainly glad for it.