Saturday, 21 September 2013

Good Morning Vietnam !! (Hanoi)

I gave my finger a rest from blogging yesterday.  The other parts were treated to some much needed relaxation too.  Apart from watching the lizards and trying to finish a Saga puzzle, I was almost in reverse gear.  Leaving Laos behind was very sad. We wished we could have stayed longer.  On the drive to the airport, we were quiet and thoughtful.  Even our guide was not his usual ebullient self.  Still, all good things must come to an end.

But we had a final laugh before leaving.  During the security check, a lovely lady asked where we came from.  'Scotland', we replied.  'Ah.  I know this.  UK.  England, Wales, Scotland and Iceland.'  We explained the slight error and we had a chuckle together.  That is, of course, unless some massive country changes have happened whilst we have been travelling.

Our tiny propeller plane bobbed its way to Vietnam.  I tried to look nonchalant when the seatbelt light came on and the captain warned of turbulence ahead.  Why does that always happen just after they serve your drink??  I have enough problems getting hand to mouth on a normal day, let alone when the plane started jerking around.  At this point, I looked out, just to make sure wings and propellers were still attached.  They were.

The smooth landing was much appreciated.  We followed the 'back to front' immigration procedure in Hanoi.  We exited past the visa payment window.  We had to fill in an application form and hand this over, along with one passport photo, our passports and invitation letter.  We were waved back along the corridor then to the visa payment window.  We waited.  The lady behind the desk waved a passport on the air.  'That's yours,' shouted Hubby triumphantly.  I squinted and squinted again.  Unless I had had a face transplant or he had changed his wife, that was not MY little red book.  Five minutes later, our   faces were looking at us from behind the glass.  Ninety dollars paid and we could join the next queue, to show our newly stamped passports.

We hotfooted round to baggage reclaim. Two forlorn cases looked balefully at us.  Thanking them for being patient , we headed through the green channel.  A shaven-headed man, looking for all the world like a Buddhist monk, clutched our name cards.  He held out his hand.  I pumped it up and down enthusiastically, until I realised he had been reaching out for my case handle.  In silence, we followed him.  He gestured for us to wait.  Was he on a vow of silence??  No, he just did not speak English.

Manoeuvring between the hoards of motorbikes and scooters skilfully, we eventually arrived at our hotel.  Two minutes earlier, the driver spoke one word 'Hilton' but our hopes were dashed as we drove past.  But we did stop at the Sunway.  Bellboys in full uniform dashed down to collect our cases.  A form was put under Hubby's nose by the driver.  Without his reading glasses, he is still not sure what he signed for!!

At reception, there was the usual mispronunciation of our surname.  It rhymes with rough, not bough or cow.  A minor heart-stopping moment as our key was not in those prepared.  A quick conversation, a search for a new one and we were soon heading skywards in a padded lift to Room 804 ( with a view Madam).

And so, after quite a good sleep.  (I say quite a good sleep because Hubby decided to play with the bedside controls in the middle of the night.  Lights were flashing on and off plus the air-con went into overdrive.  It was like being at the funfair in Blackpool.) I woke, put on my headphones and said, in my best Robin William's voice 'Good Morning Vietnam!!'

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