Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I know I've been back from Vietnam for weeks now, but I'm in the midst of a writing course as well as writing my other blog about our Oxfam training so sorry this has gathered a few cobwebs lately. I have a zillion stories to tell and I will gradually get them down!
So Vietnam, The Husband and my objective for this 10 day trip was to have the kind of holiday we couldn't have with our kids, to be together again as a couple (rather than as parents who are a couple) and to go hard and have fabulous experiences. And to get in the zone we thought that instead of taking our smart luggage on wheels, we'd dust off our backpack and travel like we used to, before we had kids, or smart suitcases on wheels. We packed so conservatively that our total luggage weight was only 12kgs. In fact we even decided to catch a bus and a train to the airport rather than a taxi, although the reality was a taxi would have only been ever-so-slightly more expensive but so much less hassle. In the interests of saving money, we'd booked with the cheapest airline we could find online (Malaysian Airline), however there is lots to be said for booking through travel agents, because you actually get a real itenerary, flight times, transit details, even flight routes, none of which we had with our booking. So it wasn't until we were at the airport did we realise that we were actually flying through Brisbane - a small 3 hour diversion, and that we had 5 hours in Kuala Lumpar airport. Small details, we thought. Anyway I won't bore you with our long flight, apart from the fact that those hosties on Malaysian Airline had the teeny weeniest waists I'd ever seen, they were smidges of women impeccably dressed in tiny, tiny dresses. First feeling starting to develop of feeling like an elephant, and a badly dressed one too.
Arriving in Hanoi and in the midst of the swine flu fears, we were herded through a temperature measuring station kind of thing. No swish electronic heat detecting equipment like you'd find in Sydney Airport, no, instead we lined up and had a thermometer rammed in our ear. And was it like at the doctors when a new hygienic cap is placed on it each time it is used? Unfortunately no, just the same thermometer being used over and over and over again.... What would you have done? The time we had to make a decision was about 3 seconds when we realised what was about to happen.. Option A) Make a fuss in front of everyone, raising fears that you have swine flu and potentially getting put in hospital or the next flight back out or Option B) Have a dirty well used thermometer rammed in your ear, then move on and continue your holiday.

Lets just hope that swine flu can't be transmitted through ear wax.

Oh, and when we picked up our luggage from the conveyor belt, we saw that one of our backpack straps was ripped and broken. Possibly bad handling by airport staff but more likely from rot and the trauma of being used for the first time in 10 years.

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