I’m On The Train

For a long time the most used phrase on mobile phones and probably still is in the UK. We are sitting in First Class which seems to be against all the principles of an equalitarian state but then one thinks of the old adage all  men are equal but some are more equal than others.  Here’ the train station


it was of course that great ex communist union boss John Prescott who brought us the M4 bus lane which was in fact a private lane for him and other Ministers in the UK to rush into London from LHR without being held up in traffic .

This is a ten carriage train with First Classs, soft seat economy Class and the rather ominousy named hard seat Economy Class.

As I write we are fairly rattling along after some rather slow stretches when I felt I could almost have walked along beside it. Maybe it is now downhill into Saigon..

The Train to Saigon

The main stops are to allow other trains to come down the single track route and pass heading south. Some of these are at stations stops on the way most are not.

Last night rather than taxi to the bar we walked some way to use the ATM . It led us past a restaurant that we had used about a week ago. It was recommended by a couple staying at the Villa Aria as being  ” not too bad” which for restaurants on the main strip is equivalentt to at least 2 Michilin stars as the rest are so poor.

We went in hope of real Vietnamese food and ate probably the worst meal we have had on this trip or any trip. Truly terrible food served in an offhand manner where clearly we were doing them a favour.

The restaurant has two girls standing outside and they entice customers in by saying endlessly Hello Madam come in for yummy food. How ever  once we had been in they studiously ignored us and they did so again last night. Clearly they knew we had been done and needed to be left alone. Plenty more fish in the sea.

I call it the Maltese Tourism theory. Malta is an island in the Mediterranean south of Italy and close to North Africa. Perhaps unkindly many call it the Alcatraz of the Mediterranean. It is a rock in the middle  the sea. It boasts just one beach and that is very small , plus a big dockyard and for years it was a place you could go abroad and eat British food because the Royal Navy were there .

I went years ago for a visit and after driving from one end to the other in a few minutes ran out of tings to do.

I was there with some Travel Agents and at a function thrown by the Tourist Office asked one of the guys there quite how they sold the place . ‘We work on the theory’ he confided in me ‘that as long as world tourism grows by 6% a year there will always be enough tourists traveling and a few of who will come to Malta. Any downturn from that and we are toast of course’.

The restaurant in Mui Ne knows that every week there is a massive turnover of tourists. Nobody who has eaten there once would ever come back but who cares. iI is also not worth even talking to the ones that have. Not so silly really.

Oh and the train only takes 4 hours not 5 hours as the internet sites say. We arrived at 5.10 p.m. so much faster then by road. All and all a very pleasant and easy experience. Amazingly sitting opposite me was a Vietnamese guy with his family. He smiled a few times and helped me fix the recline on my seat. He even offered me one of his beers. Surprisingly after about an hour he lent over and said in an Aussie drawl ‘ where you from mate’ . He is a miner in Western Australia and comes home for 3 months every couple of years to see his family. He is flying back to Perth on Sunday. He at least didn’t rib me about the Ashes Test Matches.

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