Sunday, April 17, 2011

Train Journey through Vietnam

As a kid my family would go on a local train's dinner ride. I don't remember much, just vague emotional impressions of happiness and excitement and that glorious Washington scenery. Once I got a little older I would ride it by myself to visit my sister at college in Bellingham, or south to see relatives in Portland. I'd make excuses for not driving, or being driven. Why the train was best for the environment, that it was safer. I honestly simply wanted to be on a journey.

Cars make me sleepy or nauseous, planes eliminate the feeling of having gone anywhere. So quickly and in such a different realm do they transport you, moving through cotton high in the sky makes a journey seem more a break from reality. Trains though, trains follow the curve of the land and wind through it with a romance I don't find most places. Trains let you walk around, sleep more comfortably. You see what's outside and have nothing to do put pay attention to it.

From Ho Chi Minh we took the train to Hoi An (and would take it again from Hue to Ho Chi Minh but for that trip I was drugged up on cold medicine so there are no pictures or thoughts really). We boarded at night, too dark to see outside and instead the rocking motion put me to sleep.

Woke at six to new light filtering through the window. Ignored the time and spent the next few hours taking shots that would be blurry and obstructed and never convey the majesty of the land. Drifted to sleep, woke, read, watched, repeat. Landscape kept shifting between farms, coast, mountains, cities, and jungle.

I'm often alone in my devotion to the railway. The bathrooms are disgusting, trains are slow, tracing their path with a relaxed air. It’s a foolish sensibility I have, but trains are still my favorite way to travel.

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