The overnight train from Nha Trang to Da Nang.
Figuring out train travel wasn’t as easy as I expected. There are several classes of ticket: a hard seat, a soft (with a pillow) seat, a hard sleeper, and a soft sleeper. The hard sleepers are three bunks on each side of the cabin (six per cabin), while the soft sleepers are two per each side. The soft sleepers are also air-conditioned, which makes a tremendous difference. The train was basic but pretty comfortable (way better than the bus, in my opinion). The biggest issue was that we had no place to store our backpacks, so we had to share our bunks with them.
Interested in traveling Vietnam by train? Check out The Man in Seat 61 for more detailed info.
Two years ago, prowling the Freedom Tunnel with two of my favorite exploring buddies.
An El station at night. I love the El. It reminds me of the NYC subway…in Queens.
After leaving Buenos Aires, I returned to the Midwest. One of my favorite things about Chicago is the El, the elevated train.
I can never have enough photos of train-related things. This is the Liniers Station, the last stop in Buenos Aires of the municipal Sarmiento train line. It is a different Buenos Aires out there.
The bicycle car on the municipal rail in Buenos Aires is fascinating. If you ever get on one of these trains, bypass the cars with seats and go searching for the big, empty car with people perched at the windows. Of course the bicycle car also doubles as the smoking car. This in itself is not that unusual. On the way out from the city center, the bicycle car was basically empty and there were some guys nonchalantly smoking a joint. On the way back into the city, the car was pretty packed–people sitting on the floor, sleeping, reading newspapers, having coffee–and there was a different group of guys smoking a joint, unmolested, on the crowded train. The only person giving them weird/curious looks was me. This impressed me beyond belief.
I got on a train yesterday and went somewhere. Where? You’ll find out! But in the meanwhile, enjoy my second vertical shot in one week. In fact, have TWO since I skipped posting yesterday.
The Retiro train station in downtown Buenos Aires. Kind of looks like a lot of other train stations. Or, maybe, all train stations look alike when you’re tired yet excited and just want to get on the train. You also get the mix of freight and passenger trains here, which I adore.
Where did I take the train to? You’ll find out tomorrow…THURSDAY.
This is the train to Machu Picchu. It was such a trip to get to Machu Picchu (and even a bigger trip getting out). But the train ride was so beautiful. Sticking your face out of a moving train is one of the greatest pleasures in life–something that America seems to have stripped us of with overhyped safety regulations.
The other night I met up with a kid I met on this very train. He didn’t make it to Machu Picchu because of the floods. There was a critical point of decision-making that day. My brother and I made the decision to stay over night in a town halfway there while the kid returned to Cusco to start from scratch the next day. We made it; he didn’t.
Stuart and I went for a walk along the tracks while we were stranded in Aguas Calientes. The trail was sporadically populated with workers and hikers coming in off the Inca Trail. It’s so strange to come across a steady stream of locals and foreigners in a place that feels like the middle of nowhere.
It was really hot and sunny that day, but the tunnels were cool, dark, and drippy. But see that light at the end of the tunnel? That’s your weekend coming right at’cha! Sure looks lush, don’t it?
I took this last month in Villa 31, this shantytown behind the Retiro train station. I didn’t take any photos inside the dense residential area, but these abandoned tracks are kind of the pedestrian highway in and out of the neighborhood. A lot of people live there, and there is a heavy police presence near the dead zone between the train station and the neighborhood interior. That says a lot.
People talk a lot about how the polarity of wealth is so much more visible here than in the states. I’m not sure about that. We have plenty of homeless in the states, as well as ridiculously crappy neighborhoods abutting luxury rentals. Or maybe I’ve just spent too much time in San Francisco.