Anyone would feel crabby after a disturbed, short period of sleep. That is exactly how I felt that time at Train Station in Nha Trang, Vietnam. I only got a few hours of sleep and my roommate was so loud, coming back after being drunk on 3 AM. It is one of the risk of renting a shared room, I know… I didn’t blame him, though I can’t help but feel a bit annoyed by that. Waking up very early in the morning didn’t help at all; I have to catch the train that would leave to Da Nang at 5.36 AM that day.
Arrived at Nha Trang Train Station, I looked at my watch and realized it was still 4.45 AM. Still got a lot of time. I put my backpack down and sit on the cold steel bench. The train station already full of people, from hipster foreigner tourist to local people. I felt a bit sleepy… I need the kick from Vietnam coffee, black and just a little bit of sugar and ice, drank within three gulps. With half-opened eyes I saw a group of people, carrying a big backpack. Backpackers? Hipsters? or a typical foreigner looking for cheap beer and beach? Their tanned skin and outfit which was a mix between modern clothing and something that you’ll found on a typical night market in Vietnam showed me that they’ve been in Vietnam for a while. They were talking between themselves, a blond girl and two guys, while walking beside the railway. The blond girl pointed her iPad to one of the Railway officer, a young Vietnamese girl wearing light blue Ao Dai. The blond girl did ask for permission, but she did it while already taking pics of the Officer girl. While the Officer girl refused her pics to be taken, the blond girl still boldly pointed her iPad and following her, like a hunter trying to shoot a deer.
I didn’t know if it’s because me being grumpy that time, but seeing that annoyed me. Traveler or not, one thing that we should do towards each other is to respect. The urge to have a unique photo or experience of traveling have to be balance with respect towards the people and the place. Isn’t travel supposed to broaden our view of things, which would make us realize that people everywhere is in the same level as us? To be humble and respectful towards people no matter where, that’s the kind of traveler I want to be. I hope I haven’t been disrespectful and I pray in the future that I won’t.
With a loud sound of horn, the train finally came. I picked up my backpack and walking toward it, morning breeze passed me and my still half-opened eye. I found my seat in the train, and I felt that I was being stared at while I put up my backpack. I looked around and I saw that I was the only foreigner there. Now it’s my turn to try to be a respectful traveler…