Saigon Central (Ga Saigon)

The track is still there. So is the prominent display of coal locomotive.

Hard to get there though, tuck in the back of winding District 3 streets.

I checked out the logistic and lay-out: upstairs for ticketing, and downstairs with hamburger stores.

My sister loves to take train to Hanoi. She grew up reading the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr Zhivago etc…

Northerners like herself left for Southern cities Bien Hoa and Saigon, the train’s last stop.

A few European backpackers were seen walking about, awaiting departure.

But Saigonese are more inclined to taking scooters and buses.

Train, cinema and snail mail are now things of the past.

I used to hear ” Biet Ly” play in my home.

Biet Ly, nho nhung tu day…..oi coi tau nhu xet nat tam hon (Adieu, start missing from here on….the train whistles through the heart leaving deep cuts)_

I want to feel their pain. Evacuation and separation.

Even when you can come back, the place has changed.  So have you.

Saigon Central itself has changed: from running on coal to diesel or mixture.

Old movies love train scenes: the long coat, the longing, then the steps, the suitcases before the reunioin embrace.

Reunion and Au revoir. Embrace moi.

Saigon Central got its shares of tearful goodbyes.

Perhaps from more previous generations than mine.

Today’s airport with added security after 9/11 takes romance out of the equation.

People kiss goodbye nevertheless.  When will I see you again?

Only the longing hearts in synch know.

Here, there or in the air.

Saigon Central is just a destination. Last stop in the line.

But it has served its time, blowing up some steam and dropping off millions.

Perhaps my families as well. I can feel it in my bones. Can’t prove it. Just took in the scene today and knew that it was a dying breed. Like the cinema. Like the snail mail.  A la recherche du temps perdu.


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