Still train

13 hours, overnight train, Hanoi to Hoi An, soft sleeper, $50, left at 11pm, arrives at 12pm.

Sitting on a still train is a magical way to sit. I wonder what this motion will feel like, it’s always different.

13 hours of motion, effortless and redundant. The boundaries somehow create a sense of bottomless possibility, I can do anything I want to do, I have 13 hours that are entirely mine. I can give them to strangers I meet on board, or not. I can give them all to sleep, or to snow leopard or to doodling or to watching the outdoors change.

It’s not that I ever do anything so magical on a moving train, but the possibility never fades.

Our bunk mates, a vietnamese couple, beautiful, dressed up, bright lipstick, hair that not even sleep can move. The space and physical bunk beds is reminiscent of camp, little kids climbing to their top bunks, getting tucked in, talking about the world they have all figured out as they doze off into nighttime.

Maybe it’s the slow pace of living on a train that’s appealing. Sleep, draw, read, watch out the window, sleep, write, draw… That’s part of why I loved Pai so much, the pace, no obligations, nothing to “get done”. Although, the crucial part in its appeal (as with so many things to me) is its clearly defined end. 13 hours on a train, five days in Pai, temporary.

I’m really good at temporary.


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