We woke up. We were all in a sad mood after an enjoyable time in Sapa. It was time to leave. We wished our stay was longer. Solemnly, we just saw the mist swept and passed our window as we prepared for breakfast. However, it didn’t mean the end of our Vietnam trip yet. We were still going to explore Hanoi for two days, luckily. I was also ready for the pleasant 8-hour ride to Hanoi, though it was full of drama.
With our bags packed, we set off on our 37km journey back to Lao Cai train station with our hired driver whom we booked yesterday with the help the hotel staff. After a few minutes, Mommy thought she forgot her phone so we asked the driver to stop and turn back. She found it just in time before the driver turned back, which wasted a few seconds. However, we still had to stop for a short while since there was an exchange of drivers for some random reason which we didn’t know. To be honest, I didn’t really care about this delay since I knew that we would be still on schedule to catch our train since this are little things which waste very little time.
We drove at a normal speed and soon had to come to a halt for some reason. There was an accident. What I saw from my blocked angle was a smashed motorbike with debris around it. There was also a lorry that tried to avoid it but hit a few trees instead which was near a cliff. It was a narrow escape for those in the lorry. There were also shattered glasses everywhere. The horrific scene was also bombarded by groups of curious locals that cut through the police tape and took photos. Even our driver also jumped out of our car, left us alone and rushed to the scene of the accident. It was chaos. The police didn’t do anything about the insane situation as many people just scurried through the taped area. We had to wait for around thirty precious minutes.
Small little ambulances just honked their horns as everyone hardly gave way to them. Their sirens didn’t help, either. Moreover, as most Vietnamese like using motorbikes as a mode of getting around, the space around us was turning into a filled parking lot for motorbikes. More tourists also began running to the terrifying incident. The police were also unorganized as they ran in every direction. It was crazy! I didn’t even know what the police were really doing! I saw many of them just walking around.
Soon, there were signs that all was over as everyone started heading back to their cars. Unfortunately for us, a few drivers were getting impatient since we didn’t move, although the vehicles in front of us did. This was due to two weird reasons. One was that our driver was one of the last to leave the scene and two, the motorcyclists weren’t back yet to move their annoying blockade to the side. Well, to our dismay, our driver took advantage of the situation and left our car again! We were all feeling like complaining to the hotel about the bad service the 2nd driver was serving us. Despite that, he came back just at the brink before my mom went nuts. To me, I also think it is a strange way to serve your passengers, leaving them in the car just to see a horrific scene.
One by one, all the motorcyclists gave way to our car. We thought it was all over.
In plans of hurrying, it all came to plain waste since there was another delay which was the one I mentioned a few paragraphs ago. This time, it was a toppled bus just at a sharp curve. One person was killed and at least 15 others were injured after a bus carrying 40 Chinese tourists crashed into a truck according to the news. I guess it toppled since it also became very misty. It affects your vision. That’s just an assumption, to be honest. There may be other causes to this series of events. This time, here, there weren’t many police, unlike the first one. Still, we saw photographers, reporters and journalists running around the area. It was all but crazy to me. I think if you were there, about to miss a train…you would also be very desperate which was what I was exactly feeling, even though a little excited. But I felt sorry for the people who got hurt in the accidents.
At least that time we had a shorter wait. Almost immediately, our driver went full speed ahead once we were allowed to proceed. We really thought all was lost. If the worse comes to worst, we had to think of a back-up plan, fast! All hopes weren’t lost as we came to the final kilometers of our journey. From what I reflected, if my mom hadn’t thought she lost her phone and if the exchange of drivers neither happened, we could have been involved in the serious accident. So I was thankful to God for protecting us in our journey.
Once at the station, we bailed out of the car and I ran as quick as lightning to our coach as my parents were carrying the luggage. To our astonishment, we arrived five minutes in schedule after the everlasting sprint. We were panting as we entered the train and sat at our selected seats. It was such an eventful morning as the train left Lao Cai on time. I was thankful we caught our train in time.
In the train, I did my journal and played with my tablet every now and then. The day ride was longer than the overnight ride since the overnight ones are express. For day rides, they stop at almost every stop.
It was soon lunch. I went to check if they had any available meals. They had earlier but ran out of stock when we came. All they had were instant noodles. I got a little angry about the situation but was given some popcorn and pork rice later on, bought by my mom from the staff on the train.
Beside us was a couple. The lady was very noisy and had her foot stuck out while sleeping. It was kind of disgusting for my mom. To make it even more embarrassing, two men sat behind my mom. They also did the same thing as the old lady. When my mom smelt something strange, she looked around and when she got to the smelly man’s foot she was even more disgusted and even asked the man to stop – and put on his feet in his shoes! I saw it all and laughed at the hilarious moment.
Well, I had to take that back later on since when I was writing in my journal, I got rid of all the document files which I thought were all rubbish! I only realized the folly of my actions when all my journal entries were lost! That was why I am behind schedule now. I was embarrassed by my silly mistake. However, we still had hope since daddy would attempt to recover the files back later on in the hotel.
I didn’t really do anything much since I also couldn’t sleep because the lady behind also stuck her legs out. They were also really smelly. I just looked at the sceneries as we rode on. Since it was getting dark, I ate a light snack since we would have a very late dinner as our journey reached its end. I was really tired after this dramatic ride.
At the Hanoi terminal, everyone alighted and headed out of the old-fashioned station. We soon found a free cabbie and asked him to take us to our hotel in the old quarter. It is called Meracus Hotel 2. They have quite a small space. So, I comprehended they only have two rooms on each level when we got there. We were greeted promisingly and they offered each of us an avocado juice. They also gave us a map with recommendations of popular attractions. We thanked them for their impressive service. To our surprise, my mom requested for a room with a view. However, they reserved a room without any window! My mom was dumbfounded since it was my dad’s birthday the following day! We did not want to ruin it. They said that they would try to change a room or find a hotel. We hope they could. For that night, they upgraded us to a family suite which has a balcony with a window. It was also very clean after all my serious checking. It is a thing I usually like to do.
After a delicious dinner slept at 11pm. What an adventurous day!