We were awoken at a dark and gloomy 4:45 AM and ripped out of our peaceful slumber. The trains literally rock you to sleep and I have yet to feel air condition quite like that. The spacious night train compartments fit four bunks comfortably and I was asleep in no time the night before. In the morning, a few people went to go watch the sunrise on the beach, but I’m a cynic so I decided to sleep for a couple extra hours before our 8 AM Booze cruise. I repeat – 8AM Booze Cruise.
We boarded the spacious boat and set off into the ocean. There were a few grey clouds littering the sky, but the whole day we had fantastic weather – just the right amount of oppressive heat to be at the beach. Our first stop was a wimpy island aquarium, made with all the tackiness you would expect from Florida. But we saw some cool fish and a sea turtle snapped at me so it was still pretty cool. The boat tour played great oldies music and we jetted around to different islands at top speeds. After hitting a couple of other beaches, we arrived back to the boat and the benches we were sitting on had magically been turned into a table with a full buffet of Vietnamese delicacies! We ate our hearts out and then something strange happened.
The people working on the boat cleared our dinner and then vanished. All of the other boats around us pulled up to our boat and tied up to us so we were in the center of 7 or 8 boats. Suddenly, someone sets up a drum set made out of Tupperware containers or something and the band made up of all the deckhands started playing. It was absurd. The lead singer? A man in a dress with coconuts for boobs. The person picked against his will for audience participation? Me.
The karaoke was fun and then all the other boats pulled away and the deckhands launched a floating bar into the sea. They began passing out life preservers and people just started jumping into the ocean off the top of the boat, floating their way to the bar to have a drink. All told, the trip was a lot of fun. We spent the night at a very fancy place that was a hosting a beach party. We had a couple drinks with our feet in the surf and I returned home, exhausted at a rowdy 12:15AM.
The next morning we had free, a rarity, and Tori and I planned to spend our afternoon at the beach. About one second before we were about to embark, the rainy season reared its ugly head. We then sat in the lobby of our hotel for a couple hours before setting out to explore the city on bike. We biked to a couple of Buddhist temples, filled with little places to worship and some cool oddities. A bell that people pray inside of, swastikas, and gaggles of school children using the place like it was their playground.
That night we boarded another train, except this time I was in a hard sleeper. The defining feature of the hard sleeper is, you guessed it, the rock hard bed. These beds are stacked three high so you can’t sit all the way up. The good company I met in the car made up what could have been a miserable experience. I chatted with a girl from Norway and another British girl who gave me some good advice on India. I was so tired that I drifted off to sleep to arrive the next morning in a new exciting city.