One of the things I’ve seen on the internet was the train going down what looks like a residential street with things being sold and bought. Up until the train comes sauntering down the middle of the street and canopies are pulled in, chairs are stowed, and goods are left out since they are lower than the train.

Well much to my surprise, this little gem is here in Hanoi. But it’s closed? Kind of? Not any more.

After walking around Hanoi and seeing all the different vendors of all the different things, I figured I would walk towards train street to even see if I could see anything.

Walking up to one of the areas I saw a police officer sitting down and looking bored as ever. (No photo since none of them seemed like they would appreciate a photo). Standing next to him was a lady in a pink dress asking me if I wanted to come up.

Yes, she’s carrying eggs. Yes, that’s fruit in that bowl on the ground.

Being weary of people asking me to come with them, I said I just wanted to walk, and she pointed at a sign and said no walking (indeed it was a no walking sign). She said to follow her. I did so as slowly as possible. There was not going to be any discussion with this lady. You just did what she told you to do.

She took me to her cafe which was about 6 meters wide, and 1.5 meters deep. Just enough to fit a fridge and a chair, all behind a yellow line.

It has TWO floors!

I had a beer and two waters for a whopping total of $4 and I got the best seat in the house. The other people that showed up got to sit on stools, and I mean, little plastic step stools, so this was PREMIUM seating.

Now, to just sit back and wait for the train.

There is quite a bit that happens while waiting for the train, for instance, the mobile grocery store lady shows up.

She delivers some stuff to people automatically, and then she has bags, and people walk up, put stuff in a bag, and then she weighs it with a hand scale… that also has a pan attached to it? That must be the inflation pan.

While we were there, there was plenty else to watch and talk about. The owner of the establishment had been there for 40 years. She grew up in the home just across the tracks. Her children were wandering around reading comics on the tracks. There was also a cat on a leash, and of course, nice cold beer and water to drink, and some nice Canadians to chat with.

When non-locals would try to walk down the tracks, WOW did the neighborhood hop into action. You better be accompanied by a local, otherwise they will yell at you to get into an establishment. And there were plenty of non-locals being jerks about it too.

I have a feeling that having tourists there still makes everyone nervous and is somewhat still disallowed. But if you are “visiting a cafe” and under the watchful eye of someone local, then you are OK. So the trick to visiting, is to have a place to go in mind, or… do what I did, and just follow the first person that tells you to come with them.

The train was supposed to come at 11:20, and like all things in Vietnam, it’s flexible. So around 11:40 it did finally come, and WOW it did not disappoint. Here’s the video, and some photos after it.

After that it was time for our hostess to see which way the cops were looking. Seemed like there was some sort of signaling happening up and down the neighborhood. After a minute, turns out that everyone MUST go down the path the train took. There was NO way anyone was going to be allowed in the way they came.

Best friends. Right??

I was told to strictly walk on the left side of the tracks. Until of course, I walked upon two gentlemen who (and maybe my translation isn’t totally correct) asked, “What the F are you doing on this side, get on the other side!!” I still had my hostess behind me who indicated that I was a damn fool for walking on the left side as she had always told me to walk on the right side.

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