October 23, 2008 at 11:03 pm 2 comments

Last night i took an overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai, from where i took a bus to Sapa. Since i booked my ticket hours (rather than days) before departure, i could only buy a seat not a sleeper. Not a problem, i thought. I’ve done enough sleeping sitting down and i didn’t mind doing it again…

I was pleasantly surprised when i came aboard. The seats leaned a good way back and my seat was near the window. The train took off and the lights went off. And then i saw the foot.

The woman behind me had slid her dirty foot to my arm rest, taking away any possibility of my leaning my head against the window to sleep. It was appaling. The man next to me was dosing off. Between her foot, his snoring and his various body parts in my personal space, i tried to breath deeply. The train was full, quite, and i was only one of three foreigners.

I slid back in the chair to avoid her foot. Then a thumping began and echoed all the way into my head. I sat up, turned around, and looked at her. She was hitting her knee which was resting against the back of my seat.

“Can you please stop?” i asked her firmly, but courteously.

There was no reaction.

I didn’t repeat myself again, just kept still and looked at her puzzled as she continued to beat her knee. A minute later one of the passengers behind her said something and she stopped.

I resumed my seat. Checked the left side to see if her foot had returned. Fortunately, it hadn’t. Relieved, i placed my right arm on the arm rest only to find something in my way. To my dismay, it was a foot. The woman’s companion’s foot. As i turned around to watch them i noticed that the first woman had found another location for her foot: above my head.

It was a lot to bear. Complete with the fact that i had felt so isolated and depressed in Hanoi, i could hardly stand it. I jumped past the snoring man and went to the toilet.

There wasn’t much i could do. I returned to my seat, pushed it all the way up so as to limit the woman’s chances of putting her foot above my head again, leaned my hands on the seat in front of me and slept on them. It was bearable.


Entry filed under: travel. Tags: .

Laos to Vietnam back in Hanoi

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dina  |  October 25, 2008 at 11:44 am

    What was the size of her feet?

  • 2. Bagan « Yelena’s Travel Blog  |  April 29, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    […] Physically, this was the worst railroad experience of my life. Although psychologically, it wasn’t worse than the feet of Vietnam. […]


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