Reunification Express from Hanoi to Saigon, Vietnam
With a creak and a wail the Reunification Express rolls out of Hanoi station, taking two nights to travel along the backbone of the country down to Saigon. From behind limp-curtained windows passengers are drawn through the guts of Vietnam, granted views into kitchens, backyards and alleyways, where chefs hose pans, mothers plait children’s hair and tiny coloured vests dry on makeshift washing lines. Between Hué and Da Nang, jungle rises up around the train, waxy leaves slap the sides and hot sunshine flashes in between barred windows. And below, the South China Sea opens into an expanse of hazy blue, a finger of cream sand running along its frothy edge.