Sleeper Night Train from Hanoi, Vietnam to Nanning, China

Hello and Good day or Nehowwwwwwwww,

I write this from an internet cafe in Nanning, China. I took a sleeper night train from Hanoi, Vietnam last night. It left at 9:40PM and arrived today @ ~9am. Doing customs at 2am between Vietnam and China is quite interesting, indeed.

China is one of those few places in the world I’ve always been interested in visiting. It’s arguably THE economic powerhouse and new fortunes are being built every minute of every day. If you’re a lawyer billing $500 an hour, you still can only work 8-10 hours a day. If you’re in sales for a product with global demand, you can dine on 10 course meals in Brazil with potential clients on their yachts.

If they like the cut of your jib and most importantly your wares, you can make more in one sale with residual implications than such said lawyer can in a year, with a drink in hand, might I add. Any service profession is not scalable, get where I’m going?

As fate would have it, I ran into some gentlemen of the most distinguished order. Lord Chazington III, “King Chode” and King Khong. I took a taxi with LCIII & KC and met KK on the train.

Luckily for us, King Khong who is from Holland is of Malaysian descent and speaks Mandarin and Cantonese, sweet. There are not enough tickets to Guangzhoudong tomorrow so myself and King Chode along with King Khong are going today, at 3:30PM. Lord Chazington III is leaving us towards Kummings. As my alter ego is officialy LLIII, I feel right at home with this most distinguished group. I most certainly do.

Not much to say about Nanning, didn’t get far. Eat at this local place and their pork was just fat, it was delicious but eating straight fat with chop sticks isn’t really my style. If you’ve ever wanted to see what it feels like to be a celebrity, just come here. Tones of girls filming you with their cell phones and random ladies smiling and saying hello whever you go.

We went adventuring until we found an arcade… I know why there are so many gamblers here. There are kids games that get you hooked on gambling. I lost many coins casting my net, I did indeed.

To begin with, there is a fishing game where you cast a net. The more coins you risk, bigger the net. If you miss, goodbye coins, you get a fish, hello coins. Many youngsters here banking serious coin.

The most obvious “spin off” is one of roulette but it’s little cartoon characters, again you risk money and can win it aka gambling. There is a Rambo shoot em up that is broken. After completing most of the game we dropped it due to sheer boredom and are now in this cafe.

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube are all blocked but easily accessible for someone with the right skill set aka knows how to connect to a proxy aka anyone can do it.

I will note there is less honking here but we are not in a major city.

The sleeper train from Hanoi to Nanning was quite nice and I remember remarking how I was somewhat sad to leave it upon arriving in Nanning, I think one of the sheets had bed bugs, that sleeping bag liner I acquired in Hoi An is well worth it’s weight in silk.

All this being said, the night train we are taking to the Guangdong province leaves at 3:30PM and arrives at 6AM the next morning. That equals to a lot of time spent on a train. Then again I have no timeline and no one waiting for me at the end so what is the rush?

We’re going to the SEZ aka Special Economic Zone where there is a different tax structure I’d assume and it’s a shopping mecca within a shopping mecca. People claim “Asia is great for shopping” and “China is the best” well we’re going to the hub of it all. I’m off with King Chode as he wants to go to Beijing, so do I. I reckon it’s safer to go two man and cheaper, no brainer.

King Khong will be leaving for Hong Kong, regrattably.

As always I’m more verbose then I had planned. Time for me to wander the streets while I get tanned through the smog ridden skies. Having no plan and traveling alone is often great and things just “work out” in ways you could never conceive. Remember though, you’ll never know unless you go.

On a totally unrelated note, those AF1’s are kinda trash. Then again they were $14 and it’s not recommend to get a new pair of shoes and then wander the streets aimlessly for ~8 hours before your train leaves. I have a blister, bunion or corn growing on a toe of mine, for the sake of simplicity, we’ll call it a blornion from here in.

I did however run into one of the ladies that I went on the night train with to Sapa, most randomly. It was a fun filled evening of cheap beer, cheer and even cheaper pho. I will note that she’s staying in one of the hostels and guess what!? She had her ipod stolen.

My reasoning is why risk a device worth a few hundred to save a few $!? In defense of hostels, one of the gents I’m with now left a bag there, with ~$125US an ipod everything and came back 5 days later and it had been returned, NOTHING touched.

Therefor one can only concluded that being in a hostel is like being in an ocean. Your stuff are small fish. When small fish number one leaves his home aka the bag nothing happens and it’s all well. When fish number two leaves on the other hand there is a nasty predator swimming by and he is gobbled whole, end of story. That’s life though, isn’t it!?

Opted for the SEZ & Beijing over Kummings and Nepal area for a few reasons. I want to check this stuff out, should be cool and if I do opt to bounce home for golf and fishing until Vegas in October, I can loaded my coiffers and take a direct flight to Van City.

Cordially,

P.S: The country side on the way here reminded me of being in Halong Bay, it was islands of rocks so I guess mountains or big hills coming out of nowhere, only no water. Yeah, something like that.

2 Comments

  1. sue

    September 25, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    in november 2010, we were in hanoi for 3 weeks, spent 3 days in halong bay,then we decided to take a train from hanoi to danang to revisit marble and monkey mountains then we took a taxi to hoian and stayed there for 7 days.we then flew to hochiminh city, the weather was hot hot, my friend got sick and we had to fly back home earlier than 2 months plan.this year in oct 2012 i will be back to vietnam and travel solo to china and thailand,i can stay as long as i want and go as far as i could.i wonder if i can just hop on and off the train without booking in advance? same thing for hotel?

    • Rob

      September 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm

      Hotels are easy, just be prepared to wander around a bit until you find something and tell many touts no thanks / I know where I am doing.

      Sometimes / often they will bring you somewhere decent, I have uses touts to find lots of lodging.

      I bought a bus ticket valid for 1 month with something like 4-6 stops for $30 in Ho Chi Minh City, recommended.

      Good luck!!!

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