|It is about 3.5 hours from the boat to the plane via taxi|
and two trains. Not fun when you are running late!
Obviously, we missed the taxi and the Australian cell phone was turned off so we missed the driver’s call as well. I called the cab company and explained the situation. They sent another cab immediately because we had planned to catch the 5:35 AM train to Sydney International Airport, three hours away from us. When no taxi showed up, I called the company again. This time they told me they had made the pick up!
|What! This is the line for checking in!|
What are they taking home in all of those boxes?
What! We are still standing where we said we would be and no taxi! Someone else took it. So much for the 5:35 AM train. They sent another driver, who actually turned out to be the first one whom we had stood up, and he took the short cut to the station. We made the 5:52 AM train instead. Fortunately, in our old age of wisdom, we like to get places early and not cut time short like we used to do.We still arrived at the airport two hours before our international flight to Viet Nam, but … That is when we discovered that it was the Chinese New Year Holiday and every Asian in Australia was heading home. Not only were they taking the whole family, each family was taking multiple boxes of food, clothing, appliances, toys, and you name it! Apparently there is no or little duty to take things into Viet Nam, so they were checking everything expect the kitchen sink. Or maybe that too!
|There is a 30 kg weight limit before you pay fees - |
per person! So everyone in the family can check
30 kg with no limit to the number of containers.
It was a zoo here and at baggage claim at the other end!
The check-in line was over two hours long! After an hour of standing in it, I saw the Sky Miles Priority sign. Yes! This is why we pay the fee for the Platinum AMEX card! We made a move and were checked in within minutes! I had totally forgotten about that perk. We comfortably made our way to our seats and waited and waited for the plane to fill up. Finally, they announced that the door was closing. And the plane was at least 35 minutes late in departing.
|Dennis next to Hoai. We invited here to visit us on the boat.|
In line, we met Hoai, a lovely lady from Viet Nam who lives in Sydney. Coincidently, she ended up in our row on the plane so we learned a little about family life and where to visit from her. Actually she was the last one onto the plane! Although a little skeptical at first, I found Viet Nam Air every bit as nice as China Southern had been last year. And Viet Nam Air feeds you very well – not like American carriers. We were served two full meals on the nine hour flight. And no charge for beer, wine, alcohol or soft drinks even in economy class!
So what are we doing in Vietnam?
The Australian visa we have allows us to stay in their country for a year – but, we have to leave and re-enter every 90 days! So we had to decide where to go. Having spent last cyclone season touring New Zealand and it not being safe to go out to the Pacific Islands, we decided to take a Mekong River cruise from Saigon to Siem Reap, Cambodia to see the ancient temples of Angkor Wat.
|We look a little rough! I don't think either of us brushed|
our hair as we ran for the taxi. Did I brush my teeth???
|After a rushed start and a long flight, the holiday lights|
of Tete were a beautiful sight. All is well!
The cruise itself was seven nights on board with busy daily sightseeing itineraries. We opted for the Pre and Post Cruise packages plus an extra day in Ho Chi Minh before the whole thing started. If you don’t think you will ever return to a destination, why not make the most of it!
And watch your timing! When I planned the trip, it was based on our need to leave Australia after 90 days. I did not realize we were traveling to Asia the week of the Chinese New Year. You have seen the photos of the Asians stuck in traffic jams and airports and train stations trying to get back to their family villages for holidays. Do not travel to Asia during their holidays!