Trains are a chance to see the country and think thoughts. This was long train ride across part of South Vietnam from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) which we did in July 2013 with great friends.
We booked the first class for this train - having found that in China we really did need that bit extra room if we were to sleep at all. Good decision. First class at least had beds in the compartments. The other classes were sit ups. One class had wooden benches that looked like they'd been stolen from a park and the travellors carried their own food - great bags of cooked corn cobs.
They were smarter than us. We'd thought we'd be able to get something to eat on the train. Though wrong as it turns out, so the only food we had was what we'd picked up at a street stall at the town pictured above - somewhere in the middle of nowhere). Each packaged treat was either sweet with salt on it, or salty with sugar on it. We hoed into crispy things and crunchy things and crumbly things and some hard things. Sugar and salt. Yum (not).
Next time, watch the passengers getting onto last class. If they're carrying food, follow suit.
But it wasn't the seating or the food that was the real give away about what class you were in - it was the window coverings. Up in first class I was able to read the grafitti on my sheets by the light offered when I pulled my (grimy) curtain aside.
In last class, the chickens were able to peck easily. There weren't any curtain, but each window was covered with chicken wire. No jumping out of those windows (or, I suspect, in for a free ride).
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!